C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


One bumpy marathon, this
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Chaos marked the first marathon in the city as large-scale irregularities were reported by international and national athletes who participated in the mega event today.

Women athletes were disappointed as organisers did not hold separate races for men and women. Some women participants, on the condition of anonymity, remarked that it was “disgusting” on the part of the organisers since men were physically stronger.

Participants even complained that the organisers had failed to provide water after every kilometre. They said water was proved after every 3 km, which was against international marathon norms. Some said they were given participation certificates for 5-km race when they had participated in half marathon of 21 km.

Officials, on the condition of anonymity, said they had told the higher officials in the sports department to hold separate races for men and women, but the organisers did not pay any heed.

The organisers also removed the timing mat after four hours, causing confusion among athletes regarding their timings. The organisers failed to declare the timings to all participants as there was chaos and only two tables were set up for the athletes to report after the completion of the race.

Ethiopian athlete Mazea was crying as the organisers did not announce her winner, but awarded a consolation prize of Rs 2,500 to a city girl, Loveleen Kaur. Even the special prize by the ICICI Bank to an Indian woman athlete who got the first position was awarded to the same girl, ignoring the rightful claim of Jyoti Gawate of Maharashtra, who stood first among the Indian women in the full marathon.

After protest, the organisers gave Rs 50,000 to Mazea and Rs 10,000 to Jyoti. Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, said they had announced in the media, and also on their website that the marathon was open for all and there were no separate races. He claimed that they had provided enough bottles of water and alleged that the participants had thrown the bottles without using them.

He later announced that those who had not received their participation certificates could collect them from the CGA tomorrow and outstation athletes could send confirmation slips through their relatives who might be staying in the city.

Meanwhile, morning walkers faced problems in reaching the lake as the police did not allow them to enter the route specified for the marathon. Ajay Jagga, a regular walker at the lake, said marathon was mismanaged as all main roads leading to the lake were blocked since 6 am. “What kind of a healthy event is this if it deprives people of their routine walk at the lake?” he asked.



Ranjit Bajaj case takes new turn
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 31
The case pertaining to the alleged assault on Gurmohan Singh Bedi, son of former Punjab & Haryana High court judge MMS Bedi, by Ranjit Bajaj, son of former IAS officer Rupan Deol Bajaj, at Hotel North Park has taken a new twist after two girls who came forward as witnesses to the incident claimed Gurmohan passed “obscene remarks” at them in the hotel’s parking lot which they claimed led to the scuffle between the two men.

Ranjit along with two companions allegedly injured Gurmohan by attacking the latter with the butts of their guns after they had attended a party on Friday night. Gurmohan suffered injuries on his nose, lower lip and finger following which the police booked Ranjit for attempt to murder.

The altercation between the two was sparked off after Ranjit's vehicle reportedly hit Gurmohan in the parking lot. The latter claimed his foot came under the wheel of Ranjit’s car and when he vehemently protested two people accompanying him began hitting him with butts of their guns with Ranjit joining them. Gurmohan stated he fell down after being attacked and as soon as he got up one of the three put a gun to his neck and threatened him.

After Gurmeet filed a complaint with the cops, one of the two girls, Henna Singh a resident of Sector 15, Chandigarh, arrived at the Chandi Mandir police station and handed over an application to the staff present there. In her complaint Henna stated she and another girl, Pahul Ahluwalia, a resident of Sector 16, had gone to the hotel to attend the SJOBA ball at North Park along with Ranjit, a member of the old boys association, and his driver, Mahender Singh.

“We were honorary invitees at the party. We left the hotel at around 1:30 am to return home and our driver, Mahender, helped Ranjit to back the car out of the crowded hotel porch. At this point ‘Gary Bedi’ (Gurmohan) passed an obscene comment, saying ‘Ena vichon aaj raati koi vi le jani hai’, pointing towards us,” Henna alleged.

“A scuffle then broke out between the two men. Noticing the commotion people nearby tried to calm Gurmohan but he was too drunk and fell right there in the garden outside the porch, his turban falling off. He became more enraged and tried to attack Ranjit while shouting obscenities but once again lost his balance,” Henna stated in her complaint.

Accusing the local police of being “biased” against them, she said, “We then tried to lodge a complaint with the cops, first going to the police station in Sector 16, Panchkula and later to the one in Sector 10. At the latter subinspector Surjit Singh asked us to file a ‘proper complaint’ in the morning”, said Henna.

However, when contacted Gurmohan denied the allegations. “I was expecting a similar reaction by Ranjit as he had also threatened me”, he said.

Pahul, the co complainant along with Henna, however refused to talk saying she had nothing to say except what had been stated in the complaint filed by them.



Sec 42 murder case cracked
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Sarwan, accused of killing a Sector 42 woman, in police custody
Sarwan, accused of killing a Sector 42 woman, in police custody on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, January 31
Death was stalking Shashi Sharma, who was found murdered at her Sector 42 house here on January 17, for over a week before she was killed. The prime suspect, Sarwan, who was brought to the city from Lucknow on production warrants, was interrogated today.

Twentythree-year-old Sarwan had taken away the victim’s mobile phone along with him, which helped the police trace him. Sources in the police said Shashi had withdrawn some money from a bank on January 10. Sarwan told interrogators that he had been stalking the victim and knew that she had withdrawn the amount. He took a knife from his kitchen and followed the victim to her house.

Being well versed with her house, he knew that the main gate would be locked at 10 pm. Sarwan belonged to the village of her help, Mangal and Desh Raj, who were brothers.

They had been working with her for years and she treated them like her sons. Sarwan had come to the city for work in November and started doing odd jobs at her shop.

He found out that she was living alone and might have amassed huge wealth. He then decided to kill her.

DSP (East) Jaswant Singh Khaira said on January 16 Sarwan, father of a five-year-old, followed the victim. She locked the door, but opened it after he knocked. He had visited her house earlier, too, so she did not suspect him. Soon after entering the house, he slit her throat and took away Rs 12,000, gold ornaments and her mobile phone.

He spent the night at the victim’s shop after committing the crime. Mangal was also sleeping there. The next day he left for Delhi, telling Mangal that he was going to meet his father who was involved in some case in Lucknow.

The murder was detected the same evening. The police had been suspecting his role after he went missing, the SHO of the Sector 36 police station stated. The police got some leads and its suspicion was confirmed when Sarwan used his brother’s SIM card in her phone.

His wife had died sometime ago. He was produced before a local court, which remanded him in three-day police custody.



Public Money, Private Use — I
Babus splurge lakhs on cellphones
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Admn’s Take

The Central Government’s ceiling on the purchasing amount is not applicable keeping in view the “dignity” and “security” of officials

FS car fuel guzzler

The official car of the Finance Secretary (CH01-1-G-0007) is in the eye of the storm for consuming extra 224 litres of petrol in 2006-07, over and above its quota of 2,400 litres a year. The administration’s reply that the overconsumption was due to VVIP duties and outstation tours has not found favour with the AG.

Chandigarh, January 31
In a classic case of public money being misused for private purposes, senior officials of the UT administration have splurged about Rs 4.4 lakh on the purchase of mobile phones and unauthorised calls.

Ignoring norms framed by the Union Government on the purchase and use of mobile phones, the officials purchased expensive mobiles and made calls exceeding their entitlement during 2006-07 and 2007-08, according to audit reports by the office of the Accountant-General (AG), Punjab and Chandigarh.

“In spite of the instructions issued by the ministry of finance, the administration got provision of cellular phones to its officials approved from an unauthorised committee and incurred an expenditure of Rs 1.78 lakh for making payments of the phones during April 1, 2006, to March 31, 2007,” information procured by RTI activist RK Garg reveals.

The then Finance Secretary leads the babus in going overboard with his mobile phone charges. For 2006-07, he spent an excess amount of Rs 66,936, followed by the Home Secretary with Rs 53,443. The then Joint Secretary (Finance) was third with Rs 31,930 and an ADC to the Punjab Governor touched nearly Rs 17,051.

When it came to spending on handsets, the babus did not care two hoots about the Central Government’s instructions. As against the fixed maximum limit of Rs 10,000 per handset, one set was bought for Rs 23,920. Similarly, two other mobile sets were purchased for Rs 19,552 and Rs 18,000.

The administration surprisingly paid telephone bills worth Rs 13,695 belonging to the Haryana State Cooperative Supply in 2007-08. In the same year, the administration also purchased two cellphones worth Rs 34,476 as against the limit of Rs 20,000.

Replying to the objections raised by the AG office, the administration claimed that the ceiling on the amount was not applicable keeping in view the “dignity” and “security” of the officials. However, the AG termed the reply as “untenable” as the government’s instructions on the purchases had to be taken into consideration.

In its defence, the administration also contended that the “position of officials in the UT is entirely different from the position of officials in the Central Government as in Chandigarh an official looks after many departments and both cannot be compared as far as the use of mobiles is concerned”.


‘Inherent character of city must be preserved’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The first Indian Chief Architect of Chandigarh MN Sharma and social activist Hemant Goswami recently held a press interaction on the issues concerning heritage preservation, planned development of Chandigarh and responsibility of the citizens.

Sharma emphasised that the decision makers had a greater responsibility to maintain the inherent character of Chandigarh. He said, “Each wrong decision causes damage to the distinct character of the city. With all good intentions of the Chandigarh administration, the uninformed citizens and commercial greed is bringing the city to the level of other Indian cities, which have fast deteriorated. Certain decisions should not be taken by the bureaucrats or the majority vote of the people, who have no knowledge of the architectural values but rather be left to experts and architects.”

Talking about the issue of covering the buildings with paints and colours, Sharma said, “The buildings of the Capitol Complex were cleared of fungus during the golden jubilee celebrations of Chandigarh. The buildings of the city centre (Sector-17) are most prestigious and of great value yet, the owners do not want to maintain its individual character and want the facades painted against the specified conditions. This would have far reaching consequences to say the least.”

Goswami of Citizens’ Voice emphasised that the citizens should not depend and wait for the government to do something for them, but rather take things in their own hands wherever the bureaucracy fails. “Even small initiatives by the local community can collectively result in a big change. The residents should also use RTI and approach the courts for exposing the wastage, corruption and siphoning of the development funds by various officials and their associates.



City swine flu free for 20 days
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Contrary to fears of a spurt in H1N1 cases in winter, the city has been virtually swine flu free for the past 20 days with not even a single case from the region being reported in any of the hospitals.

With the mercury plummeting to as low as 4.3 degrees in the city during the last couple of weeks, apprehensions of the medical fraternity that the H1N1 virus could become “more active” have mercifully proved wrong. The fears of most doctors in this regard arose due to the fact that since flu and other respiratory diseases generally flare up in cooler weather flu, the H1N1 virus might act in a similar manner.

According to health officials the city did witness a sudden rise in the number of positive cases in November and at the beginning of December, but subsequently there had been a steady decline. The maximum number of swine flu deaths too was reported during this period.

UT nodal health officer HC Gera said 63 positive cases were reported in the first week of December with the number falling to 42 in the second week. It subsequently declined to 33 in the third week and the last week of the year closed with a tally of 7 such cases.

The first week of the new year saw four fresh cases but subsequently there was a complete halt with no cases at all being reported in the past 20 days. Incidentally temperatures in the city were at their lowest during this period with the minimum falling to 3.2 degrees C, breaking a seven-year record in January. In fact, on some days the city’s temperatures were lower than even in Shimla.

A senior doctor said fears about swine flu cases rising in winter were sparked by presumptions that the H1N1 virus would behave similarly as other known influenza viruses, which replicate faster in the monsoon season and then in winter. In addition the tendency of people huddling together in small places during winter was also expected to fuel the spread of the disease.

So far 336 positive H1N1 cases have been reported in the city, of which 157 were from Chandigarh with the rest from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Over 63 deaths have been reported so far, of which eight were from Chandigarh.



Disability benefits for pre-1996 pensioners
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Following recommendations of the Committee of Secretaries, the government has partially modified regulations for disability pension and extended benefit of broad-banding of disability percentage to those invalided out of service prior to January 1996.

The cap on war injury pension, restricting the same to the maximum of last drawn emoluments for personnel invalided out in Category ‘E’, also stands removed. The orders to this effect were issued by the Ministry of Defence on January 19 after financial sanction for the same was accorded earlier this month.

The benefits of broad-banding of disability percentage and removing the cap on war injury pension were recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission. These were, however, extended only to those invalided out of service in 1996 or after, thereby putting similarly placed persons left service earlier at a disadvantage.

While the partial modification has been welcomed by veterans as a positive development, some officers and legal experts point out that the benefits have been extended only to those individuals, who were invalided out of service and not to those who retired on completion of their terms of engagement.

In the case, Paramjit Singh Vs Union of India, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has already held this disparity to be arbitrary. Regulations now themselves provide that for the purposes of disability pension, persons placed in low medical category at the time of retirement are deemed to be invalided out of service.

The different treatment between invalided and superannuating personnel, according to lawyers dealing in the pensionary matters, seems strange in view of the fact that broad-banding or rounding-off disability percentage was introduced to curb medical subjectivity because it was felt that different medical boards were providing different percentages of disability for similar ailments.



GMADA acts to be on right side of RTI
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
After the Punjab Information Commission came down heavily on GMADA for delaying information sought under the Right to Information Act, the latter has pulled up its socks.

Instead of superintending engineer HS Sodhi, estate officer Balbir Singh has been made public information officer (PIO) and 15 assistant public information officer (APIOs) have been appointed. The information was conveyed by GMADA during a recent hearing of a case filed by the Suchna Adikhar Manch, Mohali.

KNS Sodhi, general secretary of the manch, who attended the proceedings of the case, said in a different application filed under the RTI with GMADA, the supply of information was delayed. The information sought was related to paying guest, orders of conveyance deed, and other policy decisions related to GMADA.

On the complaint of the manch, the commission had penalised the previous PIO with Rs 10,000. The PIO had stated that the delay had been on the part of various branches of the estate office. GMADA officials had pointed out that various branches of the office were not supplying information within the prescribed time as per the RTI Act.

Pointing out discrepancy in the functioning of GMADA in the case of conveyance deed, Sodhi said instead of advising allottees to execute conveyance deed as the transfer fee was applicable to cases where full payment had not been paid, full payment was illegally collected. The proceeds of the transfer fee was not deposited with the revenue department.



High BP, smoking heighten aortic rupture risk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
When 18-year-old Tashi walked into Fortis Hospital, Mohali, complaining of abdominal pain, doctors there suspected her gut had developed some problem. However, after a CT scan, they knew it would not be just another complicated surgery. He had an aortic aneurysm (weakened area of blood vessel that balloons out and can rupture) in the abdomen.

‘‘Awareness about aortic aneurysm has increased, but sometimes we find even doctors aren’t aware of this life-threatening condition. Death is sudden and certain in 95 percent of rupture cases,’’ said Dr Ravul Jindal, head of vascular & endovascular surgery, Fortis, Mohali this while talking to reporters here today.

Much depends on the size of the aneurysm - if it is over 5 cm wide the chances of rupture are higher.

An aneurysm, incidentally, is a weakened area of a blood vessel that balloons to over one-half of its normal size and ruptures. The mean interval from its growth to rupture is about two years and without medical intervention chances of survival after five years are 20 percent, he said.

Dr Jindal, who has operated upon 200 cases in the last six years, stated ‘‘the size of an aneurysm varies according to its location. The largest that I’ve operated on was 11 cm in the abdominal aorta. A brain aneurysm would be much smaller. It can strike at any age, though older people are more prone to it. My oldest patient was 90 years and the youngest one-and-a-half years.’’

He said the diseases are usually characterized by feeling of pulsation near the navel, tenderness or pain in the abdomen or chest, back pain, etc. Being above 55 years or being diabetic or having high blood pressure or even have a family history of hypertension or using tobacco makes one more susceptible to the disease.

Aneurysm can occur in any part - brain, abdomen, legs etc. Those in the chest are called thoracic aortic aneurysms. Doctors can often make out if an aneurysm has ruptured. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are felt as a pulsating mass in the abdomen.

While the incidences of aortic aneurysm are on the rise, there are very few surgeons in India who are trained to treat it,” Jindal observed. He said that to update cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, physicians, surgeons and radiologists, this CME is being held that discussed new modes of minimal invasive surgery of aortic aneurysm.



Open House Response
MC working needs a review in UT

Sanjeev Singh Bariana has started a very interesting debate on the 'existing role of the MC' in which every citizen of Chandigarh is interested. As I was a nominated councilor in the first Municipal Corporation and incharge of water supply, sewerage, drainage, etc, I took keen interest in the working of the MC.

Firstly, there is no doubt that there is a dual control over certain subjects which must be done away with. This is the basic principle of management. Why should there be two agencies- the administration and the corporation- fighting over control of same issues?

Secondly, as regards the importance being given to the elected representatives, I regret to say that most of them are not interested in improving the city. They have their own party agendas which they air in the general house meetings. In a highly educated and cultured city, like ours, they don't mind coming to blows on trivial political issues like it happens in our parliament.

As regards the post of the Mayor, there is no doubt that one year term was too less to grapple with the problems. At least it should be one and a half years. Terms of reference should be laid down and the Mayor should have a direct access to the administrator.

As far as calling administration as monarchical, I can only say that a benevolent dictator is better that chaotic democracy when money, power, muscle power and other factors matter more than rule of law and knowledge.

Maj Gen Gurdial Singh, Nominated Councilor in the first MC.

Priced projects elude MC

The article, "Admn doesn't let MC grow" by Sanjeev Singh Bariana (Open House, Chandigarh Tribune, Jan 25 was very interesting and informative also. It is sad to note that the Chandigarh Administration is not looking after its main duty of maintaining law and order in the city. The construction of roads, handling primary education and health is the job of the Municipal Corporation and not that of the Administration.

The Administration should look after the law and order in the city. Crimes of all forms are on the rise with each passing day. Robberies, thefts, snatchings, stabbings and murders are daily being reported in the city newspapers. These incidents are increasing at an alarming rate. People, especially the senior citizens, are scared of venturing out in the nights. What is the Administration doing to curb these crimes in the city?

The internal roads in the city have been encroached upon by the residents illegally. Boundary walls have been extended right upto the edge of the roads thereby reducing their useable distance. The pedestrians have to go through a narrow road in the flowing traffic from front and behind. Accidents take place regularly and go unreported. What is the Administration doing?

Traffic on city roads has increased manifolds due to the increase in the ever increasing volume of vehicles. Boys are seen driving rashly and riding motorbikes without helmets inspite bans. Why is the Administration not taking action against them? In short, all laws and rules are flouted with impunity and the City Administration does not wake up from its slumber. Or is it that the Administration is only interested in big projects which involves crores of the taxpayers' money? Obviously, bureaucrats come here on deputations from Punjab , Haryana and the Centre and occupy plum posts and go away after fattening their pockets by looting the wealth of the City Beautiful.

The Municipal Corporation is also a failure in performing its duty towards the city and its residents. All wasteful projects are undertaken by them which are of no use either to the city or the people. What happened to the 'garbage processing plant? Even people are fed up with the poor service of the local buses in the city.

R.K.Kapoor, Chandigarh.

MC needs independence

Municipal Corporation is embodiment of local self-government and if the same body is not allowed to function independently by the UT Administration, it is negation of the concept of decentralization of power and against the principle of democracy at the grassroots.

Now that a politician has been appointed as the Administrator of the UT, let us hope that the elected body of the City Beautiful will be given due powers and responsibility for the welfare of its citizens. The writer has rightly observed: "There seems to be no logic behind the administration keeping the roads and parks under its control."

First of all, the tenure of the Mayor should be increased to at least three years so that he could initiate and take up projects of public importance. Instead of diverting the surplus funds to the Central pool, the same should be utilized for making life comfortable of the citizens of the City.

Lajpat Rai Garg, Panchkula

Confusion on work division

The issue of the Open House has, in-fact, has more than meets the eye. The issue pertains to the tug of war of supremacy over MCC by the officers of the Chandigarh administration who never wished to part with power. It was this preface that the constitution of the MCC was based on haphazard notes that have put doldrums in its functioning.

The UT is largely urban in nature and it has its share of problems of health, primary education, sanitation, infrastructural, medical and others. In the absence of elected representatives who would voice the people aspiration. Accordingly formation of a Municipal Corporation was mooted. After formation of MCC, Mayor who otherwise should be the boss of the city was constrained to act in tandem with the officers of the Chandigarh Administration as well as the political bosses.

The system did not augur well with the needs and aspirations of the public.

Municipal Commissioner and the Mayor more often than not remained at loggerheads, each trying to establish his authority over the other. Unfortunate though, this factor led to slugfest and in its backdrop the pace of development in fields entrusted to the domain of the MCC suffered miserably.

Chandigarh Administration always cast a shadow on the working of the MCC. With clearance required from the Administration, projects could not be initiated nor implemented in right time frame.

The entry and exit of roads that have remained the domain of the municipal corporation in other cities, along with all V-3, V-4 roads remaining with the Administration left much to be desired.

The situation is so confusing that division of work between the administration and the MCC were such that no coordinated effort could ever be launched which would benefit the city residents. Carving out of the third phase sectors which primarily constituted the Cooperative housing segment saw delays in infrastructural development, and till date most of the projects are being handled by the Administration. Transfer of parks for maintenance and re-carpeting of the roads has only been recently transferred to MCC, but the works suffered as adequate staff was not put at the disposal of the MCC.

The city needs a system which fulfills the public aspirations and these would better be met if the Union Government decides to have a State Assembly for the Union Territory. With a Chief Minister at the helm of affairs, the responsibility for all welfare related works would find priority. Such a system would not face dragnet of the officials and they would be entrusted with their department with a minister, a public representative, overseeing their performance.

Satish Chandra Sharma, Sector 50-B, Chandigarh

MC areas neglected

Chandigarh Tribune deserves thanks for initiating a public debate on ‘Administration doesn’t let MC grow’. MC and administration often indulge into a blame game wherein the required development takes a back seat. Democratic forums remained hardly available with the administration and MC house rarely remained an instrument for development in the assigned areas.

Tourists and spots and entry and exit points if handed over to the MC might be in a greater mess.

February 2009 saw transfer of Southern sectors to MC for development and maintenance of roads, green parks, pathways and streetlights. All of them are in a bad shape.

On ground, Sectors 50 and 51 are perhaps the biggest eye sores on the map of the City Beautiful. The roads are in a bad shape, there are no green belts and dirty ponds here and there. The area also does not have functional streetlights.

Clearer demarcation of areas of work between administration and the MC is the only step which shall make the overall administration more responsive.

Rakesh Chopra, Joint Action Committee for development of Sectors 51, and 63.

Chandigarh Tribune will like to share your opinion on the existing role of the Municipal Corporation in managing the affairs of the city. Also write your perception about the control of the administration and suggestions for a reform, if any needed, to the Open House, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh or openhouse@tribunemail.com



Reporters' Diary
Pigs having a field day

Residents and shopkeepers of Hallo Majra village are a harassed lot due to reared and stray pigs, besides dirt, filth and garbage. The pigs have created a menace to the public and a danger to environment.

Kaushalya Devi, a resident of the village, complained that despite repeated requests to the municipal corporation (MC), their demand for removing garbage and pigs from the area was yet to be met.

What was more shocking was that garbage of the entire area was being dumped in the open, presenting an unpleasant and ugly sight.

The pigs could be seen roaming on roads and streets and relaxing in front of houses. The residents also complained that these created a traffic hazard.

The pigs appeared in front of vehicles suddenly, which could cause accidents. If these were crushed under vehicles, their owners demanded money, said Amarjit Singh, another resident of the area.

With the MC authorities indifferent to their plight, the hapless people were now left to fend for themselves, with no permanent solution to the problem in sight.

Raw deal again

Congress councillors continue to get a raw deal. Mayor Anu Chatrath was not invited on stage during the Chandigarh Marathon, but was invited on stage for a cup of tea after the prize distribution ceremony.

The change of guard at the Raj Bhawan has not caused a change in administrators’ attitude. The UT Administration had not invited Congress councillors to the fashion show organised recently.

Where to go?

Students’ parties lack direction at the Panjab University. During a routine security check by the UT police at hostels on January 25, when an outsider was found having dinner at hostel 7, his friends created mayhem.

Student leaders of the ruling party were called and the pandemonium continued till the leaders decided to march to the residence of the Vice-Chancellor (VC) to raise slogans against the authorities.

On being cautioned by the dean, student welfare, as tragedy had struck the VC’s family that day, the students found themselves in a fix. Between 50 and 60 boys had gathered to march to the VC’s residence.

One of them foolishly asked a senior administrative functionary, “We have started marching from the hostel. We have to march to some place to raise slogans lest we are insulted. Where do we go now?”

To this, the dean told the students that they could come to his residence and raise slogans there. The students did exactly that.

Sanghi awarded

The chairman of the Federation for Sector Welfare Associations and president of the Residents Welfare Association, Sector 21, PC Sanghi, has added another feather to his cap.

He was awarded a commendation certificate by the Adviser to the UT Administrator for meritorious service on Republic Day.

This came close after appreciation for his exemplary work in the field of Right to Information by the Public Cause Research Foundation, Ghaziabad, recently.

He was awarded by Magsaysay awardee Arvind Kejriwal. Sanghi was earlier honoured by the then Punjab Governor and UT Administrator SF Rodrigues for outstanding service in social work on Independence Day.

Citing error

Even as the police in the tri-city has been coming down hard on traffic rule offenders, it frequently comes across people who flaunt their contacts with VIPs to avail themselves of concession.

A man driving a Honda City car hit a motorcycle at the roundabout separating Sectors 17 and 18 on January 24. Instead of apologising, he called a Home Guard jawan and rebuked him for ‘dereliction of duty’.

Claiming to be a relative of Haryana’s IG Dalal, he left the spot after threatening the jawan. He perhaps did not know that there was no IG by the name of Dalal with the Haryana police.

Parking blues

The growing number of vehicles has not left Mohali untouched. Feeling the heat from residents, who have been demanding adequate parking arrangements, the MC has been pushing for a proposal to reduce the size of parks and green belts to widen road berms for parking.

The GMADA has been resisting the move owing to town planning norms. Owners of houses should be asked to accommodate vehicles within the space available to them or common parkings should be created in every locality. A cap has to be put on the number of vehicles seen on roads, feel planners.

Contributed by Anil Jerath, Sanjay Bumbroo, Neha Miglani, Pradeep Sharma, Arun Sharma and Rajmeet Singh



Mass marriages solemnised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
A new chapter has been added into their lives, Poonam and Rohit, Ashwini and Jamna, and 12 more couples tied wedding knots at a mass marriage ceremony organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad, Chandigarh, in association with the Amar Sewa Sadan Charitable Trust, Chandigarh, at Community Centre, Sector 21, here recently.

Brides and grooms got united in holy matrimony amid the recital of Vedic shlokas. Several others showered their blessings. They said the mass marriage would serve as an eye-opener to religious fanatics as well as to those who resorted to female foeticide.

Most brides were from the Indira Colony, Mani Majra, while bridegrooms were mostly from adjoining Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kesri, etc. in Haryana.

“People approached the organisers and after verifying their economic status, we informed them about the day and the venue of the wedding,” said IS Bansal, president of the parishad.

Organisers said while the trust took care of financial needs, arrangements, including identification and verification of poor families, were done by the parishad.

SC Vohra, project director of the function, said some other donors, too, had extended help.

Couples were given beds, beddings, fans, sewing machines, clocks, utensils, clothes, bicycles and gold-plated jewellery.

Vohra said it was the first mass marriage programme by the parishad. A common kitchen was also arranged for visitors and families.

Vohra appreciated the initiative of the trust and said more such institutions should come forward.



12 years on, murder suspect still at large
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Balbir Singh, a resident of HMT Colony, Pinjore, has been moving from pillar to post for the arrest of the persons who had murdered his father about 12 years ago.

In a missive to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Balbir Singh has urged him to transfer the case to the CBI to enquire into the murder case, which has been lying pending for the last 12 years.

Giving the details of the case to the Tribune, Balbir said his father Gurdial Singh was murdered on the intervening night of September 20 and 21, 2008, at his earlier residence in Preet Colony, Zirakpur, and the matter came to light after he came back from Patiala, along with his second wife Ranjit Kaur. He said the house was locked from outside and when they entered the house he found his father murdered with a sharp-edged weapon.

Balbir said after the police came to know that the second key of the lock was with Ranjit Kaur, she was arrested. The police also arrested Harvinder Sharma, a resident of Sarangpur village.

However, Ranjit’s father approached the police officials and got her released. He said another accused Shanty, who was also arrested by the police, has been made an eyewitness in the case and released on bail.

He said he, along with his two children from his first wife, who had died of heart attack, shifted to his present address, as he feared threat to his life and his children. He said even though he had approached the SSP Mohali and DIG, Patiala range, still no action was taken.



83 units of blood collected

Chandigarh, January 31
A blood donation camp and Akhand Path Bhog was organised by Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Chandigarh, on the death anniversary of the late Gurnam Singh, (MC councillor, Chandigarh) at Gurdwara Singh Sabha Buterela here today.

The team of doctors from Government Multispecialist Hospital, Sector 16, collected 83 units of blood. DS Cheema, adviser to CM, Pawan Kumar (MP and minister), Mayor Anu Chhatkath, former Mayor and Sanjay Tandan (BJP president) paid tributes.

General secretary Harcharan Singh Sawhnay and a large number of Shiromani Akali Dal workers gathered to pay tributes. — TNS



Martyrs remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
On the occasion of Martyrs’ Day, Shivraj Patil, Governor of Punjab and Administrator of UT Chandigarh, and Lt Gen Shankar Ranjan Ghosh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, paid tributes to martyrs at the Chandigarh War Memorial here yesterday.

Veterans, civilian dignitaries and senior officials from the Western Command were also present at the solemn occasion.

Officials laid wreaths at the memorial on this occasion.

The wreath laying ceremony was followed by a candle lighting ceremony in the evening. Residents lit candles at the memorial in memory of those who had sacrificed their lives.



Tribune employee retires
Tribune News Service

Satish Chander Sharma Chandigarh, December 31
Satish Chander Sharma, Senior Messenger, The Tribune retired here today after putting in more than 15 years of service. He joined the institution on 1994.

He was given warm send off by his colleagues. A farewell party was also arranged in his honour at the office premises. Among others, Ashok Razdan, Assistant Manager, The Tribune, lauded his services to the institution.



Shivratri celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya celebrated Shivratri at Bahlana village today. Spiritual teachings, meditation and flag-hoisting ceremonies were held. At least 70 persons were present on the occasion.

Achal, zonal head, Punjab, shared her experiences and conducted guided meditation. ‘Brahma bhoj’ was served.



Pay to view answer sheets
Tribune News Service

Exam reforms

  • Student’s can see their answers sheets by paying Rs 500
  • After re-evaluation, If there is discrepancy of more than 15 per cent in marks, Rs 500 would be refunded
  • All teachers to check a minimum number of answer sheets
  • Failing to clear any exam students would be given another chance

Chandigarh, January 31
There is hope for Panjab University students as its much-criticised examination system is all set to undergo changes this year. Syndicate’s decision to permit students to view their answer sheets by paying Rs 500 is one of the many reforms being introduced this year.

Right from making evaluation of minimum number of answer sheets compulsory for teachers to refund of the re-evaluation fee if the discrepancy is more than 15 per cent marks in checking, the university is positive to change its ailing examination system.

The suggestion of permitting the students to tally their answer sheets was forwarded by Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti at the Syndicate meeting yesterday.

Besides, PU will not accept inflated internal assessment of students, especially if the difference in the annual examination and internal assessment is more than 20 per cent.

“After these reforms, a formula to keep a tab on the routine practice of getting papers re-evaluated without any reason needs to be worked out so that unnecessary burden on the system is reduced,” said Prof BS Brar, coordinator of the examination reforms committee.

Recently, a professor negotiated with the students to withdraw a complaint against him for not taking even 10 per cent lectures throughout the year and promised the student to give full marks in internal assessment.

Meanwhile, recommendations made by the 15-member committee have been approved by the Syndicate barring the question bank suggestion.

“The clause of the question bank will be discussed further, whereas all the other recommendations have got a nod,” said Sobti.

Despite formation of several committees in the university, this is for the first time that crucial reforms related to examination system have been taken.

Also, the credit-cum-grading system in all professional courses has got a nod, but the modalities are yet to be worked out.



DLitt degree to be conferred on HK Dua
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Panjab University (PU) syndicate has given its nod to confer a DLitt degree (Honoris Causa) on HK Dua, Editor-in-Chief, Tribune Group of Publications, and member, Rajya Sabha.

Prof Goverdhan Mehta, National Research professor and former director, Indian Institute of Science, and Dr AR Kidwai, former Governor of Haryana, will be conferred DSc degrees. In addition to this, SP Oswal, chairman-cum-managing director, Vardhman Group of Industries, Ludhiana, and former fellow of the Panjab University. has been recommended for the Udyog Rattan Award.

Prof Yash Pal, National Research professor, Chancellor of the JNU and former chairman, University Grants Commission, has been recommended for the Vigyan Rattan Award. Oswal and Prof Yash Pal are PU alumni.

GP Chopra, president, DAV Colleges Managing Committee, New Delhi, and former PU fellow, was felicitated on having been selected for the Padma Bhushan.

Prof Sudesh K Khanduja, department of mathematics, and Prof RK Kohli, chairman, department of botany, were felicitated on having been elected as fellows of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.

Prof NS Mann, former PU fellow, was felicitated on having been conferred the Lifetime Award in Sports Psychology for 2008-09 by the Sports Psychology Association of India.

Dr SM Kant, director, youth welfare, Panjab University, was felicitated on his nomination to oversee arrangements for the fifth South Asian University Youth Festival to be held at Dhaka, Bangladesh.



Students display talent on stage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The annual function of the Ashiana Public School, Sector 46, marked the completion of a successful academic session today. The function was held on two consecutive days, January 30 and 31, which saw full participation from students.

The function consisted of a thematic display of talents of all students from all classes, Pre-Nursery to VII.

It provided a platform for the students to showcase their skills on stage. Dance performances were organised during the function.

India’s cultural diversity and ages-old civilisation was depicted through a series of colourful programmes.

The students also exhibited the country’s unity in diversity in a unique manner. The play ‘Yeh Dharohar Desh Ki’ was based on the Himalayas.



Teacher evaluation in schools mooted
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Close on the heels of Panjab University going ahead with the teacher evaluation system, various PTA associations from across the city are mooting a similar proposal for the city schools.

The evaluation, according to them is an indispensable requisite for the success of the CBSE’s education reforms, as this would ensure that the students’ assessment lies in safe and impartial hands.

“As 80 per cent of the marks will be in teachers’ hands, they should be fit to have the power,” asserted one of the PTA presidents.

“Our new evaluation system CCE is aimed at all-round development and will backfire if teachers are not professional. So we are mulling over devising a similar evaluation system other than the ACR,” added a senior official of the CBSE, Delhi.

Interestingly, the concept is old wine in new bottle, as former DPI(S) SK Setia had introduced a similar feedback system in government schools in 2008, but it was unceremoniously discontinued days after his exit.

The pilot project involved teachers under the SSA project and was meant to cover all teachers. According to plans, students were given forms, where they were supposed to evaluate a teacher on various parameters.

In the first round of feedback held in June last year, several students had objected to corporal punishments, insulting language, mobile chatting, delayed or suspended classes and even eating in classes by teachers.



Few turn up for CAT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
In the second phase of the common admission test (CAT) being held at the Rayat and Bahra Biotechnology Centre, as many as 100 students turned up in the first phase and around eight students turned up in the evening.

The examination was conducted smoothly and there were no complaints of system failure, although the turn-up, which had to be 200 each in both the phases, was less.

To compensate for the last time’s goof up, several students said they had been called again even though they had not asked for the re-test.



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