C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cops get taste of road rage
Bus carrying prisoners attacked; two held
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Chandigarh Police today arrested two persons on the charges of attacking its bus ferrying prisoners at Piccadilly Chowk following an incident of road rage involving the bus driver and a motorcyclist.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident occurred around 4 pm when the police bus, which was coming from Sector 35, brushed with a motorcycle at Piccadilly Chowk. The motorcyclist, who was coming from the Kisan Bhavan Chowk side, however, managed to control his vehicle. He was on his way to Sector 35 and claimed that he had moved following a green signal while the bus driver jumped the signal.

The policemen got off the bus and allegedly started beating up the motorcyclist. During the clash, the turban of the motorcyclist, identified as 24-year-old Gurdev Singh of Sector 35, came off.
The police takes away a protester from the spot.
The police takes away a protester from the spot. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Meanwhile, a Shiromani Akali Dal activist, Charanjit Singh, reached there and intervened. The policemen reportedly manhandled him. It is alleged that on seeing the people assembling, the policemen sped away in their bus after snatching the keys of Gurdev’s motorcycle.

When the police bus returned on the same the rotary carrying prisoners, a group of persons, allegedly led by Gurdev and Charanjit, began pelting the bus with stones.

Former member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Amrinder Singh, who also reached the spot, alleged that it was highhandedness of the police, which not only removed turban of a Sikh, but also pulled his beard to humiliate him in the public.
Policemen shift prisoners to another vehicle
Policemen shift prisoners to another vehicle.Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

High drama ensued following which additional force was called on the spot, leading to a traffic jam. The police, however, shifted the prisoners to another vehicle.

DSP (South) Jaswant Singh Khaira along with SHOs of Sectors 34, 36 and 17 police stations reached the spot to control the situation.

Later, SHO of the Sector 17 police station Jaswinder Singh said a case of rioting, wrongful restraint, assaulting a public servant and causing obstruction in his work and damaging property under Sections 147, 149, 332, 341, 353 and 427 of the IPC had been registered against Gurdev Singh, Charanjit Singh and others.

When asked about the action against the cops, the SHO said no formal complaint had been received against them and action would be taken if something incriminating comes up against them during the probe.

Reacting to the incident, former Mayor Harjinder Kaur termed the police action as biased and unjust. She said the attack was in retaliation to the “brute” behaviour of cops. The cops should abstain themselves from such acts, she added.

Later, the police suspended the bus driver, Jasbir Singh, and said a departmental inquiry had been marked into the incident.



Is police trying to help Babla?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Controversial Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla is once again in the news because a day before the last date of filing his charge sheet, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) today asked the special investigation team (SIT) not to proceed to court to present it.

The opposite party, Suraj Parkash Ahuja, had already expressed his apprehension over the police not presenting the challan within the stipulated 60 days.

He said, “If the charge sheet is not presented by tomorrow, he will get bail. This will shatter the confidence of the general public in the law. The development is a slur on the face of the investigation agency. The common man will have no faith left in the law.”

The development gained importance in the context that the tainted Congressman had a close alliance with Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament.

Replying to a question, IGP PK Srivastava said, “I have asked the investigation team not to file a half-baked charge sheet. What is the point in presenting a case which has many loopholes for the defending party to exploit? I have asked the team to fix the loopholes before presenting the case.”

Trouble started in the late afternoon, when a section of Congressmen were reported to be exchanging notes of victory.

The charge sheet was to be presented in the case wherein complainant Ahuja, owner of shop 9-10 at the grain market, had pointed out irregularities during the auctioning and allotting of platforms at the market last year.

It had been alleged that the accused had manipulated the list of allottees to accommodate his chosen persons.

Ahuja had written separate letters to the offices of the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister, the Governor, the Home Secretary and the IGP with regard to the urgent matter.

The letter reads, “Through this urgent letter, I am seeking your kind indulgence that in the aforesaid matter, the challan has to be presented by the police and the last date of statutory custody of accused Devinder Singh Babla in the matter is February 25. If the challan is not presented by that date, the accused will get bail. I have reliably learnt that the challan in the matter has already been completed, but the same is deliberately being delayed and is not being filed at the behest of political masters of the accused, who are ministers and high officials in New Delhi and even in Chandigarh.”

The letter adds, “If the challan is not presented immediately, it will be the saddest and most unfortunate day in the history of the Indian legal system, where politics is openly supporting an accused guilty of serious offences. It clearly seems that without your intervention, necessary action will not be taken and as such, I humbly request you that you may direct the authorities concerned to immediately present the challan in the matter so as to avoid technical advantage being given to the accused and allowing him to get bail after period of 60 days. If nothing is done in the matter, I will be compelled to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court and seek appropriate relief.”



Nothing to cheer for city
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
All hopes of the city residents have been dashed as the developmental needs of the railway network in the UT and neighboring Punjab have not been addressed to in the Railway Budget presented by Union Minister for Railways Mamta Banerjee today.

City residents have nothing to cheer in the Railway Budget as the much-awaited completion of the 112-km Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link did not feature in planned action plan prominently. Except for the general announcement of no fare hike, there are no major sops for travellers.

Manwinder Grewal, a businessman based in Jamshedpur, said: “We had expected better connectivity of the city with important towns of Punjab. The lackadaisical attitude of the authorities for the Rs 1,100-crore rail project had been delaying city’s link with Jalandhar. The direct link between the two cities would not only benefit the industry, but also help a large number of people who commute daily.”

With the commissioning of the link, Chandigarh would also be connected to Jalandhar and Amritsar as Ludhiana is already connected to these cities by rail network. Earlier, a passenger train was started between Chandigarh and Amritsar via Ambala Cantonment, but due to poor response, the Railways had to stop the service.

Despite tall claims of officials of the Northern Railway to give a facelift to the city railway station, the situation remains pathetic. Nothing big has been promised in the budget.

The Railway Budget has evoked mixed reaction in the city. Terming the budget as an “economist’s nightmare”, economist Jasvir Singh said it could have given a relief to the common man, but the provision of passenger amenities had been given a short shrift. A little thought at revenue-generation could have taken care of the safety and facilities in the Railways, he argued.

Ravinder Krishan, president of the local unit of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Prof Krishan Ahuja, member of the national executive, in a joint statement, termed the Railway Budget as “most disappointing” budget.

“There is no mention of a plan to upgrade the local railway station into a world-class one. Also, there is no mention of the residential facility or a hospital for the employees working at the railway station,” the statement said.

However, some of the people whom TNS spoke to expressed satisfaction over the budget, as passenger fares and freight charges had not been increased. On the contrary, with a view to motivate the unemployed youth, they have provided free travel in second class for those travelling to appear for interviews for government jobs.

Meanwhile, people in the region are generally sore that only a single Chandigarh-Dehradun train has been introduced for Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

People have also expressed their concern over the lack of security on trains. Asha Pasricha, a housewife, has hailed the allocation of Rs 356 crore for security gadgets to check frequent rail mishaps.

“The budget proposals will provide for inclusive growth and at the same time ensure expansion of Railways," Assocham president Rajan Jindal said.



Estate office to sue auction defaulters
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The UT estate office is set to prosecute defaulters in the auction held last December. Three people who had bid for one five marla and two ten marla plots failed to deposit the amount and instead the cheques they had issued bounced.

Following this, the estate office initiated the stipulated procedure to recover the money and sent them notices to deposit the amount. After none of them could furnish a satisfactory reply, the office decided to take legal action against the three.

According to EO officials, the prosecution process under section 156/3 of the CrPC would begin with a court directing the police to register a criminal case against all the three under section 138 of the CrPC.

Confirming this, deputy commissioner Brajindra Singh said, “We followed the necessary measures and only after all of the three defaulters failed to give a satisfactory reply about the amount to be deposited have we now decided to prosecute them”.

The estate office netted Rs 77.75 crore through the auction of 33 sites at Rs 74,820 per square yard held on December 16. In fact the auction broke a record when a 5 marla plot fetched Rs 1.4 crore at a whopping rate of Rs 1.06 lakh per square yard. The bidder of this plot in Sector 32 wrote out a cheque for the amount equalling 25 percent of the total amount bid. However, the cheque bounced when it was submitted for encashment.

Similarly, cheques of two others who had bid for ten marla plots in Sector 38 West also bounced. However, the estate office forfeited their earnest money of Rs 2 lakh each according to the stipulated procedure.

It may be mentioned here this is not the first time bidders at estate office auctions have defaulted on payments. “However, this is for the first time that the office is taking legal action against defaulters, setting an example for future auctions”, said an EO official.



Boston Tangle
PU panel to submit report tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Panjab University today received correspondence pertaining to the molestation case in Boston, Massachusetts involving a UILS student, Nitin Jindal, from the Harvard University administration.

Although PU officials remained tightlipped on the issue, the committee set up by the Vice-Chancellor to look into the matter held its first meeting here on Tuesday. According to sources, some officials felt Harvard had “adopted a casual approach”

on the case and was “not showing much interest” in the matter.The panel, consisting of IS Chadha, VK Sibal, Chaman Lal Sharma and the PU law officer, was formed to look into lapses in regard to sending a deputation of PU students as also to draw up guidelines for such events in the future. The PU administration had asked the committee to pinpoint the involvement of officials and students in the case and also recommend any action that could be taken in this regard to “safeguard the prestige and interests” of the university.

Committee members stated a report would be submitted to the varsity administration on Friday.

Meanwhile, in response to the Panjab University Teachers Association’s demand that PU should issue a ‘white paper’ on the matter, varsity officials made their stand clear today that the entire report would be made public and those found guilty would be brought to justice.


Dalits need to upgrade skills, says Pahadia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
We have made rapid progress in many sectors, but our country is still plagued by unemployment, poverty, price rise and corruption. The common man and the underprivileged are looking at the rest of the society and government with high expectations. It is the responsibility of industry and government to uplift them and provide education, food and shelter to them so that they can claim their proper position in society.

These views were expressed by Haryana governor Jagannath Pahadia, while delivering the keynote address during a first-of-its-kind initiative by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), “Consultation on Inclusive Economy:Perspectives, Programmes and Challenges in association with National Confederation of Dalit Organisations. Over 150 members of various voluntary organisations, corporates and institutions actively participated in the sessions.

Exhorting the Dalit youth to get themselves quality education as well increasing their skills through training programmes, the governor said, “This will ensure that you achieve success in your life. Reservations is not the ultimate solution, but increasing your competency level is,” he stated.

Speaking on the occasion, Partap Aggarwal, chairman CII Chandigarh Council assured the Governor and the audience that CII and Industry were committed towards affirmative action. He stated, “In pursuance of this goal, 636 corporates have signed CII’s Code of Conduct on Affirmative Action of which 178 are in the Northern Region. 1,300 SC/ST students are being provided scholarships for higher professional education. Vocational skills are being provided to SC/STs in various parts of the country to 13,173 candidates, of which Jaipur Rugs, a member company from North, has trained as many as 8,550 SC/ST candidates in the last one and a half years. All of them have been absorbed in the company’s supply chain,” he elaborated.

He added the Entrepreneurship Development Programme was initiated for 2,348 SC/STs in 2007-09, of which 245 were trained in North India by CII and our member companies. As a result of this hand holding, many of them were running their own successful enterprises, and providing employment to others as well.

Many Dalit youth shared their dreams and aspirations. At a session moderated by Kumar Digvijay Singh, Pinky, an MBA student requested the government to provide long term jobs. “A majority of the posts advertised nowadays are for 3-6 month contract jobs and hence of very limited use to the youth.” Exhorting the corporate sector to come forward and help various self-help groups set up in villages, Dinesh Sharma said, “They can help us in marketing our products, in training our volunteers and generally help us in bringing in efficiencies.”



5-yr-old girl kidnapped
Tribune News Service


Mohali, February 24
A five-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped by some unidentified persons, while she was playing in the lawn of the house along with two other children today evening in Phase X.

The police said around 7.35 pm they got information of a girl being kidnapped. While reaching the house, the victim’s family claimed that their daughter Mehak, a student of Class nursery, was kidnapped while she was playing in the lawn. Two children, who were playing with Mehak, told her father Gurtej Singh Chinna, who is an industrialist, that two unidentified persons, came in a white Swift car and asked about Chinna’s house. While one of the accused came inside the house to kidnap the girl, the other waited for him in the car, the police added.

Sources said the children playing with the girl raised an alarm on which the girl’s parents rushed out, however, till then the car had disappeared. The sources said Gurtej Singh Chinna owned a carton factory in Phase VII, Industrial Area. Meanwhile, family sources added that they do not have enmity with anyone.

Senior police official said the investigation had been initiated. However, no case was registered till the filling of the report. 



Nothing new at Rose Festival
Nidhi Bhatia & Chhavi Garg

Chandigarh, February 24
Notwithstanding the tall claims of the UT administration, the 39th Rose Festival has nothing new to offer to visitors.A look at the preparations for the festival reveals that the effort of the administration to bring more species of roses and depute more gardeners has not gone down well with its own employees.

“Our creativity has died now. This festival is being organised since decades and we have nothing new to offer. It is the same old thing,” says a senior official of the horticulture department.

The UT administration claims that over 275 new rose varieties have been added this time around, but the saplings, planted just two months back, are too tender to flower, due to which this effort of the administration will not be able to add any beauty to the event.

Officials have been hopeful of getting a musical fountain, worth Rs 1 crore, functional for the fest, but visitors will have to satisfy themselves with just a fountain with lights as the musical part of the fountain will not be functional throughout the festival.

“The old fountain has been dismantled and a new one has been installed, but it is not possible to put the musical element in place this time,” says a construction employee.

The picture is not rosy as far as old rose varieties go. Many rose beds of varieties like fortuna, mitzi-81, duet, love story, summer fraglinca, careless love, Queen Elizabeth, amala, gladiator and gold dot are without flowers.

“The number of rose varieties has been increasing, but the strength of caretakers is on the decrease. There used to be between 250 and 300 caretakers earlier, but now, they were between 50 and 70. These had been employed for the festival on daily wages. Only between 20 and 25 of them will remain after the event is over,” says one of the gardeners.

The workers are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping that the improved conditions at the gardens remain so for the whole year.

“The fountain area is filled with filth the year round and no one bothers to get it cleaned. Bathrooms had been stinking till some time back,” rues another worker.



CAT notice to UT on teacher’s dismissal
Sonika Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has issued a notice to the UT administration asking it to file a short reply in the case pertaining to the latter’s order on termination of services of a JBT schoolteacher, Anita Jat.

The administration has recently dismissed newly appointed JBT (junior basic training) candidates for being “ineligible”, putting a question mark on the process of recruiting schoolteachers. Rohit Seth, counsel for Anita, submitted in the court that the latter possessed the qualification of BA with JBT and had been teaching all subjects in the school. “She belongs to the ‘OBC’ category from Rajasthan and has been issued a certificate to this effect by the competent authority”, he stated.

Seth said Anita was appointed as a JBT teacher in Government High School, Mouli colony, under the Sarv Siksha Abhiyan scheme on contract basis, where she worked from October 9, 2006 to December 3, 2009 with her contract renewed from time to time. Her current contract was up to March 31, 2010, he added.

The counsel said Anita had applied for the post of JBT teacher through an advertisement issued by the administration in which 118 posts were kept for JBT teachers, of which 63 were in the ‘OBC’ category. “She was selected on merit and continued to serve in the school till her fresh selection and appointment”, he added.

The UT education secretary issued the appointment letter to Anita on November 30, 2009 after which she resigned from her earlier post pursuant to her being appointed to the regular post, he stated.

Seth submitted to the court that the UT director of public instruction (schools), who is subordinate to the authority appointing the applicant, ordered termination of Anita’s services with immediate effect on February 20, 2010 without any prior notice or opportunity of hearing or inquiry or even serving her with a one month’s notice. He claimed the grounds cited by the administration was the applicant’s ‘caste’ certificate that the former said was not valid.

Seth claimed the UT administration had been regularly appointing people belonging to the ‘OBC’ category from other states.



MC to celebrate Baisakhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) will celebrate Baisakhi with usual gusto and rural culture theme by involving folk artistes and organising competitions of traditional cultural songs among children. It was decided at a meeting of the arts, culture and sports committee held here recently under the chairmanship of Brig Kuldip Singh Chandpuri.

It was also decided that an exhibition cricket match would be played between the cricket teams of Mayor Anu Chatrath and Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, to promote and popularise games and sports amongst councillors and officials of the corporation. Assistant Commissioner TPS Phoolka, besides committee members and officials of the corporation also attended the meeting.



Central team visits garbage plant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
A four-member team of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) today visited the garbage processing plant at Dadu Majra to monitor its functioning and conduct dioxins and furans tests.

Scientist of the board A Pathak, headed the team. The team will conduct collect samples for tests to prepare the final report of the operation of the plant. Three members of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board also assisted the team.

Last year, UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar visited the plant after complaints of foul smell emanating from it and urged the CPCB to examine the reasons for the same. Earlier also, a team of the CPCB had visited the plant for the purpose.



Students told to become eyes & ears of police

Chandigarh, February 24
As part of the awareness-cum-community strengthening relation, the Chandigarh Police yesterday held an interaction with students of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, asking them to work as “eyes and ears” of the police.

The function was organised on the school premises. School principal PD Sharma, staff and 150 students participated in the programme. UT SP RS Ghuman, inspectors Geeta Devi and Parvesh Kumari and sub-inspector Kulvir Kaur called upon the students to work as “eyes and ears” of the police and inform them about misuse, abuse or exploitation of people. They also educated the students about moral values and answered their queries, besides giving them helpline number for providing information. — TNS



Static Water Tariff Revenue
Blame it on councillors
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Elected councillors keep complaining about static water tariff revenue figures in the budget, but they neither support the installation of water meters at colonies and villages, nor allow proposals on an increase in water tariff to be tabled in the house of the municipal corporation.

After a study at colonies and slums, a project regarding the installation of 19,296 water meters at colonies and villages which had been paying water charges at flat rates to the corporation had been tabled.

Officials had discussed the issue with the then Mayor Kamlesh a number of times and stated that after installing water meters, consumer would have to pay between Rs 700 and Rs 800 per house.

The officials had informed the members that due to non-metered water supply at villages and colonies, the public health department was unable to recover the operation cost and maintenance charges, but no action had been taken in this regard by councillors despite their pleas.

Sources said the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) had passed the agenda item of installing water meters last year and referred it to the house, but their recommendation was never tabled as Kamlesh did not grant permission to table it.

As per the proposal, which was tabled during the F&CC meeting, the corporation was to instal water meters at Mauli Jagran, Vikas Nagar, Indira Colony, EWS houses, rehabilitation colonies, villages and Mani Majra and recover installation charges from consumer in four instalments.

The total expenditure likely to be incurred for providing pipe and specials fixers of water meters was approximately Rs.1.5 crore as per the proposal.

As per budget figures tabled during the recent house meeting, the water tariff revenue was Rs 49.24 crore last year and was expected to be Rs 49.20 crore in the next financial year.

A number of councillors had said it was strange that there was a slight decrease in the water tariff revenue rather than an increase.

Reacting to the objection, MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria informed the house that as there was no increase in water tariff and water meters had not been installed in the city, there could not be an increase in revenue.

An official said they would send this agenda item to Mayor Anu Chatrath for approval during the house meeting next month.

Senior officials said they were not sure whether any project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNRUM) would be approved by the Centre this year as the corporation had not executed the reforms suggested to get subsidy.

The JNNRUM reforms clearly stated that the corporation had to go in for 100 per cent water metering in the city and there was a condition to convert all flat-rate water connections into metered connections.



Six cops rewarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
UT IGP PK Srivastva today rewarded six policemen with first-class certificates for taking prompt action in nabbing five persons involved in assaulting a schoolboy at Sector 46 here yesterday.

Two police control vehicles reached the spot after getting information that occupants of two vehicles kidnapped a boy. The policemen intercepted the vehicles and rounded up the suspects.

SI Ram Singh and head constable Jang Bahadur were given a reward of Rs 1,000 each and GMC Gurjant Singh and three home guard volunteers were given a reward of Rs 500 each.



Suicide Bid 
Woman wants to live with husband
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Just over a week after a woman attempted suicide at Nari Niketan, she recently expressed willingness before the Punjab and Haryana High Court to stay with her husband.

In her statement before Justice Daya Chaudhary, the girl from the Bapu Dham Colony said she had tied the knot against the wishes of her family, but wanted to stay with her husband. Also present in the court, her husband Shamsher Mohammad’s father assured the court that she would be given the rights of their daughter-in-law.

Justice Chaudhary has reserved the orders on the plea and the case will come up again on Tuesday for the pronouncement of the verdict in the matter.

She and another teenaged girl, residing at the government-run Nari Niketan, had tried to commit suicide by consuming poison. According to the police, the girls were shifted to a government hospital here after they started vomiting. Both the girls were married and were kept at Nari Niketan in Sector 26. 



Capt Kanwaljit’s death anniversary to be observed tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 24
The first death anniversary of former Akali stalwart Capt Kanwaljit Singh will be observed on February 26 at the Gurdwara Nabha Sahib situated on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway.

Akhand path in his remembrance has already been started at Sector 9, Chandigarh.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, besides other SAD-BJP leaders are expected to attend the ceremony.

Sources said party workers had already started preparations for the ceremony.

The sources added that other than political leaders, a large numbers of supporters from the Banur constituency were expected to attend the first death anniversary of their loving leader.

One of the supporters said Capt Kanwaljit was always remembered for his work he had done for people. He described late Capt Kanwaljit Singh as an honest politician, a man of courage and also called him a man of masses, who was always ready to help the needy people.

The local police has also made elaborate security arrangements for the ceremony.

According to police official, in order to ensure smooth flow of traffic, the police will make a few arrangements in the interest of public safety. However, a huge public gathering is expected which may cause traffic congestion, for which the traffic police will be deputed on duty. Meanwhile, the police team has started laying nakas on various points to keep a vigil on miscreants.



Mohali MC Rs 42.78 crore
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 24
The Mohali municipal council has proposed a budget of Rs 42.78 crore for the year 2010-2011.It will be tabled at a special meeting scheduled to be held here on February 26.

The civic body has proposed an income of Rs 3,707 lakh, while the last year’s balance that has been carried forward is 5,70.58 lakh. The proposed expenditure for the coming financial year stands at Rs 4,184.56 lakh.

The council has planned to spend Rs 2,960 lakh on developmental work in the town, which is 80 per cent of the proposed income of the civic body in the coming year.

Last year, the Director, Local Government, Punjab, had approved a budget of Rs 2,465 lakh for the developmental work.

The amount proposed to be spent on the staff of the civic body in the coming year is Rs 1,074.56 lakh, which is 32 per cent of the proposed income for the next financial year. The amount is Rs 2,21.33 lakh more than the budget of Rs 8,88.76 lakh approved by the Director last year.

A sum of Rs 150 lakh has been proposed for contingency works against the figure of Rs 107.90 lakh cleared last year.

During the coming financial year, the civic body is likely to earn an income of Rs 2,541 lakh from VAT in lieu of the income it earned from octroi. The amount was paid on a monthly basis to the council by the Director, Local Government. This was 10 per cent higher as compared to the previous year.

The council has not proposed any hike in its income from water supply and sewerage cess which stands at Rs 100 lakh, same as compared to last year, as no new connections had been sanctioned by the authorities concerned and neither had the rates been revised.

The civic body has proposed an income of Rs 125 lakh by levying octroi on petrol and diesel, Rs 175 lakh through additional excise duty, Rs 70 lakh from advertisement fees. 



Zirakpur MC proposes Rs 23.6-cr budget
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirkapur, February 24
The Zirakpur Municipal Council has proposed a budget of Rs 23.6 crore for fiscal 2010-11. The budget meeting is scheduled to be held on February 25 at which the final decision would be taken after approval by the councillors.

The civic body expects its revenues to rise by 11 per cent in the coming financial year.

According to sources close to the MC, the civic body had approved a Rs 21.4 crore budget in FY2009-10. However, it has earned revenues of only Rs 14.13 crore till January 31 this year. However it had not added proceeds from the sale of property in the revenues earned.

The sources said by March 31 this year the council expects to earn revenues of Rs 21.22 crore. They added in the next fiscal the MC hopes to generate revenues from various sources of income.

The MC, however, plans to spend 90 per cent of its income (approx. Rs 21.24 crore) in 2010-11 for development works in the town, with Rs 7 crore being spent on improving roads.

The council has proposed Rs 1.7 crore for upgrading sewerage and water supply. It plans to spend Rs 1 crore on landscaping and parks, Rs 1.5 lakh on streets and drains and Rs 1.8 crore on streetlights. An amount of Rs 1.6 lakh has been proposed for construction of new buildings, Rs 30 lakh for buying new machinery and Rs 5.27 crore for various other development works.

Budget estimates of Rs 1.9 crore for non-plan heads and Rs 42 lakh for contingency have been proposed for the next fiscal, the sources added.

Zirakpur MC president Narinder Kumar Sharma said work on widening roads and improving the drainage system has already begun. “Development of the town is the MC’s main agenda for the coming financial year”, he added.



Dimple Singla’s plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
A petition filed by Major Dimple Singla challenging the jurisdiction of the General Court Martial (GCM) trying her for professional impropriety was today dismissed as withdrawn when it came up for hearing before the Armed Forces Tribunal here.

The Bench comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prashad and Lt Gen HS Panag (retd) did not warrant interference in the GCM proceedings.

Singla, first woman Army officer to face trial by a court martial, had sought setting aside of the order passed by the GOC-in-C, Western Command, on January 18, where in her plea had been rejected.

Meanwhile, examination of witnesses and evidence in the court martial has been concluded. The prosecution is scheduled to give its closing address tomorrow, where it will sum up its case. 



Nine electricity firms empanelled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 24
For the convenience of applicants seeking new single/ three phase electricity connection, the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam has empanelled nine electricity meter manufacturing firms. Meters of these firms will be installed after testing in the laboratory.

Nigam’s spokesperson today said the firms empanelled for single phase meter were M/S Geneus, Isca, Bentex and Capital. The rate of a single-phase meter would be Rs 655, he added. He said firms empanelled for three phase meters were M/S Secure, L&T, Geneus Power, Avon and Riken and the rate of Rs 1,800 per meter had been fixed.

Instructions have been sent to field officials to accept meters of these firms. New connection seekers, willing to get their own meters installed, may purchase meters manufactured by these firms. He said consumers with defective meters were given an option to purchase the meters from these firms. In such a case, the nigam will not charge the monthly meter rent. 



Jain faction cut to size in BJP executive
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,February 24
With the Satya Pal Jain faction being cut to size in the newly constituted executive of the BJP, the war of attrition among factions is set to intensify, boding ill for the party, still smarting under last year’s General Election defeat.

Though local unit president Sanjay Tandon has tried to balance the team by inducting both new and previous leaders, the nomination of Satinder Singh and Arun Sood, neither of whom is from the Jain faction, as general secretaries is likely to be resented.

It was widely believed that Ramvir Bhatti from the Jain faction, who was a contender for the BJP president’s post, had been promised a general secretary’s post when he consented to step down in Tandon’s favour in the recent organisational elections.

A close look at the new team revealed that the unwritten agreement of having a 50:50 ratio of office-bearers from both factions had gone for a toss.

In the new dispensation, the Jain faction would have to be content with less powerful posts of certain vice-presidents and organising secretaries. Even in the nomination of Raghubir Lal Arora, Desraj Gupta, Asha Verma, Heera Negi and Mukesh Bassi as vice-presidents, the Jain faction got a raw deal.

With the nomination of BK Kapoor and Lalit Sangar as media spokesmen, Kehar Singh Koundel, a Jain loyalist, was shown the door. Office secretary TR Kapoor made way for Prem Kaushik.

Given the proximity of his father and Punjab BJP veteran Balramji Dass Tandon to BJP patriarch LK Advani, Sanjay Tandon, during the recent organisational elections, had demonstrated that he called called the shots.

In fact, by nominating his dream team, Tandon took a calculated risk to rejuvenate the party, which was yet to get its act together for the 2012 municipal corporation elections.

Sources said the ignoring of certain prominent families by Tandon would make his job all the more difficult ahead of the municipal corporation poll.

Now the focus would shift to preparing the ground for the organisational set-up for the forthcoming poll.

When contacted, Tandon claimed that adequate representation had been given to all sections, including women, the youth, colonies and villages, and the new team would deliver the desired results.

Sachin Lohtia, Farmila, Ramnik Sharma, Ramesh Nikku, Ram Lal and Asha Jaiswal were named as secretaries. Ratinder Tyagi and Girdhari Lal Jindal were made organising secretary and treasurer, respectively.



Six jhuggis gutted in fire
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 24
Employees of Shakti Bhavan had a narrow escape when a gas cylinder exploded in its kitchen here today. The incident occurred around 9.45 am. At the time of the incident, more than 30 employees were present. However, employees tried to douse the flames with the help of water for about half an hour. Fortunately, no loss of life was reported.

In another incident, six jhuggis were destroyed in a fire that broke out in Sector 21 near Taulal Stadium here this afternoon. Most of the colony residents had gone out to work when the incident occurred.

Some of the residents, however, tried to douse the fire, which was brought under control by the fire tenders. No loss of life has been reported.



PEC mess workers continue strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The demands of the union of mess workers of the PEC University of Engineering and Technology to get residential accommodation on the campus and a 25 per cent increase in salary by fell flat today.

The PEC authorities called in the police to manage the 150 workers, who appeared in no mood to compromise. Though the workers continued their strike, no consensus could be reached.

Much to the relief of students, the authorities managed to outsource catering at hostels. The students gave a representation to the PEC authorities, stating that the mess workers should apologise for the inconvenience they had been causing.



New in charge of Ambedkar Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Panjab University deputed Prof Bhajan Kaur, Department of Law, as the coordinator of Ambedkar Centre today . Former coordinator Prof Manjit Singh, also president, PUTA, will continue to hold the post of the director, Centre for the Study of Exclusive Study and Social Inclusive Policy. 

The decision has come in wake of the Syndicate’s recommendation to remove Prof Manjit of all official posts except teaching. This was observed after he was found to have repeated the question paper of MA (Sociology) of year 2007 in 2009.



No PU affiliated college applied for UGC scheme
Varsity to make colleges aware through its special cell
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Out of 180 colleges affiliated to Panjab University, not even a single college applied for “potential for excellence” status this year.

In the wake of such revelations, significant recommendations were made by the action review committee today, which has been constituted by Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti to facilitate colleges to apply for various schemes.

Opening up of a special UGC cell in the university and focus on the rural and unaided colleges, were the chief recommendations of the committee.

The eight-member board, whose primary task is to help colleges acquire funds from UGC and centrally funding agencies, included Dr AK Bhandari, Dr Madhu Prashar, SS Randhawa, Dilip Kumar, SS Dhaliwal, Dr Sunil Khosla, Dr Harsh Batra and Keshav Malhotra.

In the meeting today, the members also identified that the biggest flaw in the system was the lack of awareness about various schemes, which were exclusively for colleges.

It was decided that a regional-level workshops in the four zones namely Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Ferozpur and Chandigarh would be conducted. These workshops will be on awareness about programmes and schemes of the UGC and other national funding agencies.

Meanwhile, the colleges, which apply for “potential for excellence”, receive a grant of Rs 7 lakh to Rs 1 crore. This time colleges from the GNDU and Punjabi University applied for the same, while no college from the PU did so. “The UGC has separate offices in the country for separate divisions now to enable different colleges to apply for the scheme,” said a member of the committee. “It is one of the most important step that the university has taken so far. This will not only help the colleges in academic activities, but also in other development activities in a major away,” said Prof Dilip Kumar, Government College, Sector 42. 



Govt colleges come together for job fest
Nidhi Bhatia & Chhavi Garg

Chandigarh, February 24
A job fest was organised at Government College, Sector 46, here today. Representatives of all government colleges were present.

This was the first time that all government colleges of the city came together to provide job opportunities to students.

“The director, higher education, had a meeting with all placement heads. It was decided to have a combined job fest for all government colleges. This time, the onus was on us to host the job fest,” said Dr JK Sehgal, head of the training and placement cell at the college.

About 28 companies came to recruit students in fields like information technology, banking, finance, accounts and business process outsourcing.

Representatives of companies like ICICI Group, Wipro, Infosys, Genpact, HCL, HDFC Group, Itelenet, Convergys, ITFT and NIIT were present to look for potential employees.

“I am looking at big brands in banking and finance. I want to go into wealth and finance management. I was here on a holiday and got to know about this opportunity,” said Akansha Aggarwal, a MBA student from Noida.

“Anything except business process outsourcing will work for me. I am looking for opportunities in software programming. The companies I am considering are Wipro and TCS. Jobs in this sector are not available in Chandigarh. Only business process outsourcing companies are offering jobs here,” said Deepak Kumar, a BCA student of the SGGS College.

“I have always wanted to work in the banking sector. This is a great opportunity for people like me because all major companies are present here. It gets easy to compare and choose,” said Neha Chopra, an MCom student of SD College.

Pradeep Singh Walia, placement officer with the Government College for Girls, Sector 11, said the joint venture was good and students would benefit from this endeavour.

The fest received a good response. A total of 1,583 students got themselves registered and 1,155 were shortlisted for the next rounds.

“We have tried to ensure that the process goes on smoothly and students do not face any problems. We have set up six registration counters. The placement team is guiding students on the basis of their qualifications,” said Dr Sneh Sharma, a member of a placement cell. 



From Schools & Colleges
Shemrock school celebrates World Forest Day
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 24
Students of the Green Brigade of Shemrock Senior School, Sector 69, Mohali, organised a rally here today to celebrate the World Forest Day. Dressed as trees and animals, Shemrockites started from Sector 69, moved to Sector 70 and further to Phase 7 intersection. At the intersection, students stood for half an hour with placards held high sensitising people on eco friendly steps to keep the city clean and green. Contingent carrying placards called for proper waste management so as to further prevent global warming. They appealed to save wildlife, especially tigers, that are now endangered species. Students emphasised on 3 R’s of waste management, including recycle waste, reduce waste and re-use waste.

Fun week

The British School, Mohali, organised a fun week to rejuvenate their little ones after all the hard work they had put in throughout the year. They made friends, developed leadership skills and concentrated on other different skills important in life. Reena Sethi, director, said the week-long celebrations had a gamut of events. They had a picnic, puppet show, cookery sessions along with some confidence building and personality development classes. Dances like hip hop, ball and the twist swing dance gave everyone a chance to show their dancing abilities.

Art exhibition

An art exhibition was organised by the Fine Arts Department of Government College, Mohali, on the college premises here today.

Over 70 students exhibited their talent by participating in this exhibition. The students of the Fine Arts Department - Jaswinder, Prem Chand, Aneet, Ramandeep, Rupinder, Yadwinder, Gurinderjeet, Gurdeep, Richa and Monika were honoured for their outstanding performance during the current session. The exhibition was inaugurated by Sohan Lal, DPI (Colleges), Punjab, who also honoured outstanding students of the NSS Department.

The following N.S.S. students were honoured for their contribution and excellence in various fields:

Adult education: Rajkumar, Sonam, Manpreet and Kuljeet; Creative writing: Yadwinder, Vandna Teji, Gurpreet Kaur, Amanpreet Kaur; Folk song: Mani Singh, Rajbir, Rocky Brar and Harjeet; Poetry recitation: Ranjit, Gurdeep, Gurpreet and Harjinder Singh; Poster making: Prithi Singh, Yadwinder and Vandna Teji.

Five volunteers were given special prizes for their selection to help in the organisation of Common Wealth Games to be held in Delhi.


Gian Jyoti Public School, Phase 2, won the inter-school quiz competition organised by Master Mind Classes in Chandigarh. About 100 schools participated in the contest. While Bhavreet Kaur stood first in the competition, the second position was bagged by Gagandeep Kaur Sandhu. Both the students were given merit certificates and prizes.



PU economics dept launches alumni body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The Department of Economics has launched its Alumni Association on the occasion of two-day national seminar in the presence of Professor RC Sobti, Vice Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Prof GK Chadha, CEO, South Asian University, New Delhi, and a distinguished alumnus of the department, a press note said here today.

Many other alumni of the department were present on the occasion. Many old students were working in reputed universities/institutions and organisations in India and abroad.

It may be pointed out here that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is the most illustrious alumnus of this department and Professor Upinder Sawhney, chairperson of the Department of Economics read out the message received from him on the occasion, “…I have been both a learner and an educator at the department, and I am happy at the start of this initiative…”.



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