C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cops unleash fury, smash vehicles
HJC chief Kuldeep Bishnoi, MP booked for murder bid
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
In a classic case of men in khaki turning into outlaws, Chandigarh Police personnel today went into a retaliatory overdrive, damaging scores of cars of Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) protesters, who wanted to march toward the Haryana Vidhan Sabha here today.

An attempt to murder case was also registered against HJC supremo Kuldeep Bishnoi and MP Dharam Pal Malik.

Irked by the pelting of stones by the protesters, who also tried to breach the security cordon, the police chased and cane-charged them before smashing the windowpanes of their vehicles parked in the Sector 25 rally ground.

The police action shocked the protesters, who were watching them rain lathis on their vehicles. The policemen did not spare even those who were leaving and attacked them after intercepting their vehicles.

Hundred of vehicles, including expensive cars, SUVs, jeeps, MUV and buses bore the brunt of the police fury.

Broken pieces of glass were lying scattered on the ground. A senior official attributed the indiscipline to lack of coordination as additional forces from Punjab and Haryana were also involved in the action.

Around 100 persons, including policemen, were injured in the stone pelting. Bishnoi broke his arm while a policeman reportedly sustained multiple fractures on his leg as some protesters in a jeep tried to run him over in a bid to escape.

The police unleashed its rage in retaliation and went out of control for over 15 minutes.

“It appeared that the police had planned beforehand to smash the vehicles. It was unbecoming on its part to smash vehicles in revenge, as if senior officials had no control over the force,” a protester whose Ford Endeavor was smashed from all sides said.

It all started around 1.30 pm when some protesters tried to break the barricade and the police resisted their attempts.

They then started pelting stones, forcing the police to use water cannons and tear gas shells. This went on for half hour, during which the policemen also pelted stone on the protesters.

Onlookers barged into the residential apartments in the vicinity of the ground to watch the action and climbed over roofs, paying scant regard to the inconvenience being caused to residents.

Some stones even landed in houses. The residents were also troubled by the tear gas that spread in the area.

Later the injured were taken to the GMSH and the PGI, where HJC patron Bhajan Lal came to enquire about their health.

Condemning police action, he said: “It was sheer injustice meted out to our protesters. Hum in subka ilaj karaenge.”

The SSP, SS Srivastva, said the police had arrested around 20 persons in this regard after registering a case of attempt to murder, rioting and damaging property.

He said the police exercised restraint till the end and used force only when the situation was about to go out of control.

The protesters damaged the boundary wall and removed bricks to hurl at the police.

Meanwhile, the IGP, PK Srivastva, has marked an inquiry into the damage caused to the vehicles to the SP (Operations), RS Ghumman.



Computerisation a far cry at MC
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The Chandigarh administration may lead in the region in making information technology “people-friendly” by setting up e-sampark centres across the city but the municipal corporation is yet to initiate any such practice in its public dealing departments.

Consequently, one has to visit the corporation office for petty works or obtaining simple information.

The corporation has a separate computer cell to update its website but it just replaces the names or phone numbers on the sites of different departments rather than making the functioning of the corporation hassle-free and people-friendly.

For the past over three years, the corporation authorities have been working for computerisation of all works of the departments under it to bring efficiency and transparency in its functioning.

According to the proposal, all land records are to be computerised, making the entire work paper-free. However, this initiative is still on paper.

The official website of the corporation primarily serves as a source of information rather than a facilitator in resolving residents’ day-to-day problems.

The authorities have included a long list of officials to whom one can approach for problems concerning their department but there is no provision for downloading forms relating to water connection, sewerage connection or booking of community centres.

Though a provision has been made to enable residents to lodge their complaints with officials on their official e-mail ID, the latter have been accused of seldom checking their e-mails due to which complaints remain unattended.

Officials sometimes do not even respond to letters or requests that are sent to them through e-mail by councillors.

While councillors have been raising the issue in the house of getting laptops so that they can have better contact with public, they have never supported the demand of computerisation of the corporation to facilitate public.

MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria has assured the house a number of times that all departments of the corporation will be computerised soon to make the working smoother and more transparent.



Boston Mess
PU debars Muktsar exam centre supdt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Panjab University today debarred the examination centre superintendent in Muktsar for overlooking the change in the examination centre of PUSU leader Simranjit Dhillon in the sixth semester LLB exams
last year.

The issue cropped up today following the ongoing tussle between student leaders of PUSU and SOPU which, in retaliation to attacks on their campus president, Brinder Dhillon, today released a press note attacking PUSU president Simranjit Dhillon.

SOPU claimed to have submitted a memorandum to the VC regarding the alleged fraud in the change of centre of Simranjit Dhillon in the sixth semester exam from Chandigarh to Muktsar.

The PU authorities, on the other hand, said the centre superintendent had already been debarred after they found the error in the gazette which mentions Simranjit as “suspended” student despite having taken the exams in April 2009.

“The centre superintendent should have ensured that the Chandigarh candidate does not sit in their centre, but two candidates, Simranjit Dhillon and Navjot Saini, sat not in one, but all four exams in Muktsar. Later when we issued them a notice, they claimed that they were unwell and had to appear in Muktsar due to medical reasons. The centre superintendent has been debarred now,” a senior official said.

Denying the charges, Simranjit Dhillon said: “The university had given me permission to appear in the exams in Muktsar and now it is denying it.”

Meanwhile, in the case of Nitin Jindal, SOPU also alleged that Nitin was an ABVP worker and they also produced a photograph of Nitin canvassing during the ABVP’s rally. The party claimed that the ABVP had now come out in protest against its own worker.

Meanwhile, PUSU called off its indefinite fast on the assurance of the PU authorities that action would be taken against the guilty in three days.

This was only after PUSU, ABVP and HAS embarrassed the authorities during the inaugural ceremony of the rose festival by creating a ruckus in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office, where the ceremony was taking place.

High drama prevailed when the DSP (central), Jagbir Singh, smacked a PUSU leader when the situation was getting out of hand.

Row takes political hue

Twisting the Boston case, PUSU, SOPU, ABVP and HSA are seeking political mileage at the cost of peace on the campus, with a series of accusations and explanations.

“Students who are sitting on strikes are not students of the PU. All of them are pressuring the authorities, which cannot act unless the law permits. While PUSU leader Simranjit Dhillon has sought admission only 15 days ago in the public administration department, Brinder Dhillon is not even enrolled at present. Narender Gujjar, who had been actively protesting, is not even a student. Moreover, students who protested on the campus yesterday were from DAV College,” a top administrative functionary of the PU said while interacting with the media.

Senators also join issue

A few Senate members did not miss the opportunity to jump in the war of words in the ongoing controversy. SS Sangha, Tarlok Bandhu, Rabinder Nath and former fellow, Tarsem Bahia, today issued separate press notes, demanding the interference of the Chancellor of the university in the matter. They mentioned that the committee constituted by the authorities must enquire into the case from the HRD ministry and the US embassy.



Education dept arbitrarily creates, scraps post
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
In an example of its occasionally whimsical style of functioning the UT administration not only created but also later abolished a new post of additional district education officer without any official sanction.

The education department admitted this fact in response to an RTI application filed by a local activist, VB Khanna, which clearly stated neither the DEO’s office nor the directorate had proposed creating or abolishing the post. The department has also denied receiving any sanction order in both cases, saying it did not posses any noting sheets concerning the post.

The revelation is bound to surprise many as two DEOs were functioning in the education department from August 2009 to February 1 2010 while the new post of additional DEO has been virtually nonexistent according to its records.

It’s very surprising to find the department decided to have two DEOs without citing any reason. The same arbitrariness was in evidence when it abolished the post without being least bothered to obtain any sanction. The department had initially cited an increasing workload as a reason but when it abruptly abolished the post it wasn’t able to clarify whether the workload had gone down or the other DEO became suddenly efficient,” Khanna said.

While advisor to the UT administrator Pradeep Mehra refused to comment on the issue all efforts to contact home secretary Ram Niwas proved futile. A senior official said on the condition of anonymity,” I’ not too sure but probably this post was converted or diverted from another department. However, in that case also there should have been an official sanction.”

“It’s strange the education department diverted or converted such a junior post into a senior administrative one and then abolished it abruptly without any valid reason. More shocking is fact that the department doesn’t have any documents supporting its move”, he added.

It may be mentioned here the UT education department had less than seven months ago “created” another post of DEO and appointed Saroj Mittal to distribute the workload of private and government schools between her and the other DEO, Chanchal Singh.

The department however abruptly decided to do away with the post last January.



Administration misinterprets order, GPA holders suffer
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
An alleged faux pas by the Chandigarh administration in interpreting an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has cost hundreds of general power of attorney (GPA) holders in the cooperative group housing societies dear.

With the administration putting the March 2, 2009, GPA transfer policy on hold, the allottees intending to transfer the flat in their names have been left in the lurch.

The aggrieved GPA holders, through the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council, has approached the UT Administrator for his intervention in the matter.

“In the meantime, the Administrator will not take any policy decision which inter alia includes the transfer of membership in favour of another person or to extend the area of operation of the society.”

The representation claimed that the finance department, following the HC order, took a stand that “the administration cannot take any policy decision regarding the transfer of membership in favour of any other person or to extend the area of operation of the society”.

Subsequently, the Joint Registrar Cooperative Societies (JRCS) directed all societies to suspend/stop the process, causing harassment and tension.

The representation contended that the court order on the petition filed by the Indian Express Society was only “specific” to this society as it was not a PIL petition.

“Compliance of the order sought by societies which are neither plaintiffs nor have impleaded in the matter is uncalled for.

“The sequence of events and from the available documents, it seems the matter has not been got examined by the law department of the UT,” SS Bhardwaj and Satish C Sharma, co-chairman and general secretary, respectively, of the council, alleged.

Urging the Administrator to seek a legal opinion on the issue in public welfare, the council sought early action in the matter.

The council has also urged PK Bansal, union minister of parliamentary affairs and water resources, to take up the matter with the administration.


Ranjit Bajaj’s Arrest
Minister bats for Justice Bedi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Reacting to the allegations levelled against a Punjab and Haryana High Court judge by Rupan Deol Bajaj, mother of Ranjit Bajaj, Punjab minister of law and justice Dr Upinderhjit Kaur said such statements needed to be avoided as judges by virtue of their office were unable to respond to such issues.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, the Bajaj family had alleged that Justice MMS Bedi had misused his authority by pressuring the Panchkula police to arrest Ranjit Bajaj.

“While it is open to any aggrieved person to avail all appropriate judicial remedies, unnecessarily dragging in the name of the judge should have been avoided, especially considering the fact that judges by virtue of their office are unable to respond or clarify on such issues,” she said.

“Moreover, Justice Bedi is known for his high principles, impeccable integrity and extremely unassuming nature,” she said.



Missing girl found
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 5
A three-year-old girl who had gone missing last evening from Green Enclave, was found here today by the police. Later on, she was handed over to the family members.

Narrating the incident, Shankar Das, father of the girl, said his daughter was playing at a park in Green Enclave. Around 5 pm when his wife went to the market and he was busy in his work at the construction site, he found that his daughter was missing from the spot. Despite all search efforts he did not find his daughter.

The family of the missing girl reported the matter to the police today.

The police called an abandoned girl who it had found last night at the market. The family identified the girl and the police handed her over to the family after due investigation.

The police got information from Sharda, a contractor, who found the girl abandoned in the market.



Unique Holi for senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 5
The Chandigarh Senior Citizen’s Association (Chapter 37) celebrated Holi in a unique way today. “We are trying to lighten the mood of our colleagues, thus the continuation of the celebration. Get-togethers like these attempt to relieve the members of the stress of their daily life,” said SS Lamba, president of the association.

The highlights of the programme were “Kalidas”, recited in satire for a few chosen elite, and “hasya kavi sammelan”, in which poets like Urmil Kaushil Sakhi, RK Malhotra, Dr Nisha Pandey and Balbir Bahri Tanha left the audience in splits.

HK Nanda regaled the audience with Holi songs. Inder Pal, secretary (administration) of the association, remembered Kaka Hathrasi by reciting his poems.

The office-bearers and non-members were honoured for their co-operation.



Trade unions protest price rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
On a call given by the national trade unions, the local units of the central trade unions today staged a demonstration against price rise and unemployment in Sector 22 here. Members of the units of the central trade unions, including AITUC, BMS, INTUC, CITU and HMS assembled near Nehru Park in Sector 22 and condemned the Central as well as state governments for adopting “anti-poor” and “anti-common man” policies.

They alleged that the Central government, under the leadership of PM Manmohan Singh, had failed to deliver any justice to the working class and the underprivileged.

The government could not curtail price rise and unemployment, but on the other hand, it was promoting contractual system, which was a tool for exploitation.



Factionalism to the fore in BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Factionalism in the local unit of the BJP reared its ugly head again today with two factions meeting senior leader and party in-charge for Chandigarh affairs Balbir Punj. The Satya Pal Jain group leaders, including Yashpal Mahajan, Kamla, Ramvir Bhatti, besides Jain himself, met Punj and brought to his notice the alleged “step-motherly” treatment meted out this group in the recently-reconstituted executive by party president Sanjay Tandon.

The group alleged the “compromise formula” worked in the presence of senior leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy in the run-up to the election of Tandon as president was violated by the Tandon group.

Besides, it was alleged that promised notification of Bhatti as general secretary also did not come through. In addition to that, certain “non-entities” were nominated on key positions.

Sources said the party leaders threatened to approach the party high command against the raw deal given to senior leaders by the party president.

Punj was also urged to convey the sentiments of the party rank and file to the party high command.

On the other hand, other senior leaders of the party, led by Sanjay Tandon, met Punj and defended the reconstitution of the party, which they claimed was recast to strengthen the party cadre ahead of the 2010 municipal corporation elections in the city.

While Punj did not promise anything to either of the groups, he promised to submit a factual report to the party high command.



IT dept notice on Parsavnath deal
CHB washes hands of taxable money
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Following a notice of the income tax department asking the Chandigarh Housing Board to cough up Rs 329 crore as income tax on the amount it received from the deal with realtor Parsavnath, the board has filed an appeal with the department claiming that the money doesn’t belong to the board.

The appeal is due to come up this month with the income tax department.

Even though the UT administration’s much-touted housing project with the realtor remains a distant dream, the IT department had calculated the amount as income tax on account of non-payment of tax on the deal.

Initially, Parsavnath had refused to sign the deal with the CHB saying that the board was just the nodal agency and the land was not registered in its name. The deal was then signed in 2006 only after the UT administration transferred the land to the CHB at the rate of Rs 18 crore per acre with a profit percentage of 30 per cent.

While the deal was struck at Rs 821 crore, the realtor only paid one instalment amounting to Rs 514 crore and the remaining amount was yet to be paid.

According to officials, in its plea the board had stated that the money belonged to the UT administration and not to the board. It had further been stated that the money was also to be spent on rehabilitation welfare schemes and not on any profit making ones.

However, the scheme failed before it could even kick-start on account of allegations from both sides. While the board claimed that the realtor was defaulting on payments and had submitted faulty drawings, the developer pulled out of the deal stating that that the land given to them for the housing project was already mired in litigation.



Madhup to perform today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 5
“Indian classical music is essentially contemplative and a cultivated art and so sublime that ragas are characterised to create the mood and impact on audience. Even the seasons find expression in the ragas,” opined classical vocalist Padma Shri Madhup Mudgal.

In city, to present a specially designed musical soiree “Rituraj Mehfil” organised by the Information, Public Relations and Cultural Affairs department, Haryana, and the Tagore Theatre Society at the Tagore Theatre, the maestro will sing various compositions, weaved in different ragas based on six seasons.

The compositions will delineate the mood and characteristics of the bandish based on the respective raga, claims Madhup. Sharing her views on issues like takers of serious classical music, Madhup said out of 1,200 disciples in his Gandharv Vidyalaya in Delhi only 3-4 per cent opt for serious taleem.

“We teach under Guru Shishsya tradition and for dedicated disciples we have recorded 178 ragas on MP 3 sung by different maestros emitting different flavour.”

The established maestros should also devise repertoires to educate and encourage the naive listeners, he adds, citing an incident that the ardent classical vocalist Fayaz Khan opened up his concert with a ghazal and later mesmerising audience with complex ragas.

Catch him live at the Tagore theatre on March 6.



Mohali MC Budget makes no headway
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 5
The proposed budget of Rs 4,277.58 lakh of the Mohali Municipal Council for the year 2010-2011 was kept pending here today even as heated exchanges between councillors of the ruling group and those of the opposition were witnessed at the two meetings of the civic body.
Councillors of opposition party protest at a municipal council meeting at Mohali on Friday
Councillors of opposition party protest at a municipal council meeting at Mohali on Friday. A Tribune photograph

The first meeting was the Budget meeting at which members of the opposition group, who were in a majority, refused to pass the Budget for the next financial year as they claimed it had certain shortcomings and they would give their clearance only after a revised Budget was presented in the House. The Congress-backed council chief Rajinder Singh Rana and the Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu kept appealing to the councillors not to take such a stand in the interest of the town, but to no avail. This meeting was followed by the monthly meeting of the civic body.

The Budget meeting started on a smooth note, but when the item related to the proposed income of Rs 70 lakh from advertisements came up for discussion, Kuljit Singh Bedi pointed out that the income had only been raised by Rs 8 lakh from last year’s income of Rs 62 lakh even when various green belts, in which advertisements were displayed, had been handed over to the civic body by GMADA.

He further said if total transparency was maintained while giving the work on contract, the civic body could earn revenue of about Rs 2 crore under this head. The income proposed under tehbazari could also be raised drastically provided employees worked in an honest manner.

This was followed by a heated discussion on security gates that had been put up in the town on which advertisements had been displayed but gates were not providing any security because watchmen had not been deployed to man these ever since these were installed about four months back. The design of the gates and the material used was also criticised by the opposition councillors.

Once again the opposition councillors refused to clear estimates for developments works related to the wards of ruling group councillors alleging discrimination against their wards by the council president.

The opposition councillors selectively cleared estimates for development works related to their wards. They even refused to clear those estimates which were kept pending at the last meeting of the civic body.

Paramjit Singh Kahlon said a boosting plant for Phase VII had not been provided over the past more than two years. Sukhminder Singh Barnala said residents living on top floors were not getting water in Phase XI and streetlights were not functioning in many parts of the town.

Phoolraj Singh said sanitation was in a state of neglect even when the council was spending large amount on this work. Opposition councillors said they would clear all estimates only after the council gave work orders for the estimates cleared earlier.

The council president said when he had a majority for more than three years he did not adopt a pick-and-choose policy or laid any conditions while clearing estimates in the interest of the town. The MLA, who is an ex-officio member of the civic body, said personal differences should not come in the way of the town’s development as far as elected representatives were concerned.



Arts College to launch PG course for hearing impaired
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Despite periodic hitches encountered during the last few weeks in obtaining approval from the All India Council for Technical Education, Government College of Arts, Sector 10 is set to introduce a postgraduate diploma course for students with hearing disabilities.

Three years after the UT administration first directed it to begin the course, the college has finally applied for the special course to which AICTE has now given its nod.

The college will - on the lines of the Delhi Arts College - launch the course with four seats each in the allied arts, painting, graphics and sculpture departments. The course will be exclusively for students with hearing disabilities, exempting them from the theory examination.

At present 16 students are already enrolled in the college’s bachelor’s course that was also introduced specifically for disabled students in 2003.

“Students of the bachelors course have become such an integral part of the college that we have all learnt their sign language and a strong communication has developed. AICTE has completed most of the enquiries and the course will be included in the next prospectus,” said college principal DS Kapoor.

In this course a special test would be conducted in place of the theory exam.

“During the past three years the college had been struggling to get the course approved. The UT administration, which ad issued instructions to college way back in August 2007, wrote to the Panjab University administration in December of the same year requesting the latter to assist in promoting higher education for the disabled. However, technical hitches and a general lack of interest on such issues led to the long delay,” said JS Saini of NITTTR, Sector 26, parent of Sourabh Saini, who has a hearing disability.



Class X board exams begin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
As over thousands of CBSE Class X students walked out after attending their first major and compulsory paper social science, it marked the end of an era and beginning of another. While most of them seemed satisfied with their otherwise easy paper, several others, including parents had some apprehensions.

“We have grown up in a society where Class X boards formed a major milestone in an individual’s career and now when our kids are set to bid adieu to it, we are apprehensive about it. If the board decides to discontinue these exams, the students might loose seriousness,” said a parent.

It may be noted that this batch is the last one to be compulsorily appearing for board exams, as after this these exams will become optional and the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation will be extended to Class X.

According to sources, the grading system would be awarded on a nine-point scale, thereby, indicating subject-wise performance of the students.

The performance would be assessed through numerical marking and students would be awarded grades to minimise misclassification of students on the basis of marks. It would also eliminate unhealthy competition, thereby reducing societal pressure, provide the learner with more flexibility and lead to better learning environment.

Students securing 91 to 100 marks would be awarded A 1 grade, while A 2 grade would be given for those getting 81 to 90 marks, grade 1 would be for securing 71 to 80 marks and B 2 for those getting 61 to 70 marks.

Those getting marks between 51 to 60 would be awarded C 1 grade, while C 2 grade would be awarded to students securing marks between 41 to 50 and D grade to those getting 33 to 40 marks.

E 1 grade would be awarded for marks between 21 to 32, while those getting 20 and below would be given the E 2 grade.

The subject-wise percentile score/rank would be provided to the respective schools. The practice of declaring compartment/ fail would be discontinued.



All rosy at university

Chandigarh, March 5
The Panjab University’s second Rose Festival was inaugurated by Pradip Mehra, adviser to the administrator, UT Chandigarh, on Prof RC Paul Rose Garden, PU Campus, here today.

Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti welcomed chief guests- Pradip Mehra, adviser to the administrator, SK Sehgal, chief general manager, State Bank of India, and Pradip Kumar Srivastava, Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh administration.

Students of Ankur School, Panjab University, and Guru Gobind Singh Vidya Mandir, Ratwara Sahib, presented bouquets to all chief guests and guests of honour.

Pradip Mehra assured financial support for creating more gardens on the PU Campus and also promised to sanction special grant for the upliftment of university buildings.

SK Sehgal, chief general manager, SBI, announced new schemes/services for Panjab University students and employees. Sehgal along with Prof RC Sobti distributed prizes to the winners of flower show competitions.

In second half, singing, extempore, laughter and mono-acting competitions were also organised.

Laughter show by Sudesh Lehri and Rajiv Thakur at Old Convocation Ground was also part of the event.

MLA Ajay Singh Chautala and general secretary, INLD, Haryana, was the chief guest.

Result: Extempore contest- 1st Sreeja Nair and 2nd Karan Goel; Singing contest (5 to 15 years)- 1st Apaardeep Kaur and 2nd Maninder Singh; singing contest (15 years and above)- 1st Manpreet Singh, and 2nd Simarjit Singh Mann; mono- acting- 1st Sonia Sharma; laughter contest- 1st Babu Lal Kapoor, 2nd Sandeep Singh and 3rd Udit Arora. — TNS



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |