C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Land allotment at IT Park under scanner
MHA report: Admn acted on whims and fancies

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has brought the land allotment process in the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) under the scanner again. “The process of fixation of rates of the plots in the IT Park and the procedure for allotment followed by the Chandigarh administration are completely arbitrary. The UT administration has done allotment on the basis of its whims and fancies without going through any procedures,” the MHA’s response to the administration’s objections to its special audit has said.

UT delayed info

The audit team had to seek the UT Adviser’s intervention to seek records for performing its duty. “The administration, involved in many irregularities, was reluctant in giving records about these projects,” the report disclosed.

Damning remarks

“The allotment of land should have been done properly after calling bids. Direct allotment of land at the IT Park is like disposing of the government’s assets at throwaway prices,” says the report.

Terming the UT’s response as completely untenable and trying to justify the wrongs done by it, the MHA report has alleged that IT plot allotment process is a case of disposing of government assets at low rates, which is unacceptable by any standards.

Bringing the rates at which the major IT companies have been allotted land under a cloud, the report has brought the arbitrariness under sharp focus.

“The rates were initially fixed and subsequently revised to Rs 31.54 lakh in March, 2002. However, the rates were revised to Rs 40 lakh in 2005,” the report has said, adding that revisions are difficult to comprehend.

“The arbitrary nature of the fixation of land rates and their subsequent revisions cannot be approved by any means,” it has stated.

In fact, the report has also raised an accusing finger at UT officials, claiming that “providing excessively cheap land and other assets will unnecessarily lead to discretion with government officials and increase chances of malpractice”.

Several factors, including land prices in adjoining areas, comparable land prices in the city and appreciation in land prices in adjoining areas, should have formed the basis of fixing prices for direct allotment of land.

“In its reply, the UT administration has nowhere mentioned that existing rates in adjoining areas had been taken care of while fixing land rates in the IT Park, which should have been the primary consideration,” the MHA report has stated.

Regarding the land compensation for the IT Park (Phases I, II and III), the report has observed that the potential value of land has not been considered by the administration, contrary to the fact that the apex court has also been emphasising it as an important factor while calculating the award of compensation.

While a considerable area of Phases I and II is still lying undeveloped, the acquisition of 272 acres for Phase III does not appear to be justified, the report has added.

The special audit has alleged large-scale irregularities in land allotment to major firms at IT Park. The administration has strongly defended the land allotment and has gone to the extent of questioning the locus standi of the audit team.



24 hurt in bee attack at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
A day after six persons were injured in an attack of honeybees at the Sukhna Lake, 24 persons were stung by a swarm of bees at the PGI here this evening. The incident took place near the Bhargava auditorium. The injured — 15 men, eight women and one child — were immediately admitted to the hospital’s emergency ward.

  • Don’t run
  • Cover yourself
  • Squat whenever bees attack
  • Scrape off sting sideways with knife or fingernail, don’t squeeze
  • Rub ice on area stung
  • Drink water for maintaining blood pressure
  • After doctor’s advice, take anti-allergic tablets, injection

Twentythree persons were discharged by late in the evening after first-aid. An aged person, whose identity was not known, was recovering at the PGI.

According to eyewitnesses, the PGI fire brigade staff rushed to the help of the victims after being informed about the bee attack. They covered them with jackets and blankets.

A visit to the spot revealed a beehive on a tree near emergency ward, which had reportedly been disturbed, leading to the attack by the bees.

“It is not the first time that visitors have been attacked? by bees on the premises?,” said one of the security guards at the PGI’s entry gate.

One of the attendants who was present at the time of the attack said, “We were discussing the condition of our relative whom we had come to see, when suddenly we were attacked? by bees. I managed to save myself, but some others were not so lucky.”

Manju Wadwalkar, public relations officer with the PGI, said most of the victims were discharged after preliminary treatment while an aged person was still recovering.



School transport system irks parents
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Following the strike by bus operators last year, the UT administration had promised to regulate private schools’ transport system within months, but it was a shambles till date.

In a latest complaint received by the administration, Saupin’s School, Sector 32, asked parents to cough up the bus fee for all 12 months, upsetting many of them.

Bus Blues

  • Outdated, discarded buses
  • Overcrowded vehicles
  • Arbitrary fee
  • No receipts

“As per norms, they cannot charge us the entire fee for vacations. I was shocked when my child came home with a notice, declaring that the school will divide the year’s fee in 12 parts. We went to the officials concerned to talk on the issue and they promised to speak to the school, but nothing happened so far,” said a parent.

School principal ABS Sidhu, however, refuted the allegations, saying, “We have divided the fee into 12 parts only after parents’ consent. The form was a way to judge exactly how many kids will go by bus the entire year. There are many who use it for some months and complain about it being overcrowded. We are not overcharging anybody.”

This was not a sole case, but a random review of the transport system in schools across the city, bringing out grave disparities. Most schools had no fixed break-up or criteria to charge bus fee, leaving parents in the dark over the true justification of money being charged.

During the school bus strike last year, it was pointed out that parents were not being provided any receipt of bus fee. The lack of these receipts made lakhs go unregistered, leading to tax evasion.

The schools buses were not arbitrary only in charges, but also violated all norms, risking students’ security. Many schools had got buses, which had been legally deemed unfit to run on roads, as those were 15 to 20 years old.

In many cases, the transporters brought discarded buses from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and plied those here without registering those with the city authorities.

“The UT administration has shut its eyes to this. When you go in an autorickshaw, you know how much you pay for every kilometre, but when you look at school buses, a parent does not know the break-up of fee. No receipt means that schools and operators get away without even registering this huge amount of money, which is an unfair trade practice. They get all discarded buses and use those for kids. In many cases, despite court rulings, kids are forced to travel without seats. Schools take no notice and the administration continues to sleep,” said VB Khanna, a social activist.

Vandana Disodia, director, STA, claimed that the department had been challaning those buses in the past and would do it again, but put the onus of arbitrary fee practice on schools.

HS Mamik, president, Independent School Association, said, “What can we do? As far as fee is concerned, with different taxation in Panchkula and Mohali and the ever-rising diesel prices, it tends to go up. Schools are just a middleman between operators and parents and seek no profit. We come into the picture only for parents’ convenience, otherwise they are free to look at transport alternatives themselves. It is not easy, which is evident from the fact that the administration’s idea of starting its own bus service is yet to materialise. I do not think any school is charging hefty amount or for vacations.”



Ranjit Case
Contradictions galore in police probe
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 14
The district police, which has shown ‘extraordinary efficiency’ in arresting Ranjit Bajaj and his accomplices, seems to be in a questionable situation over its frequently changing stance on investigation results.

A casual perusal of the FIR based on the statement recorded by the complainant and the contents of applications submitted by the police in court at different stages of investigation have been found to be contradictory.

The investigation into the alleged assault on the son of a Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge by Ranjit continues to spring startling revelations.

According to the FIR, complainant Gurmohan has alleged that Mahender Singh hit his lip with the butt of his pistol, resulting in an injury on his lower lip.

Following this, Ranjit took Mahender’s pistol and the second gunman, identified as Malkhan, put their respective guns on his temple and chest with the intention to kill him.

After this, Gurmohan ran inside the hotel to save his life and they threatened him while leaving that he would be killed if they met again.

The police, after arresting Malkhan, came out with a different story. According to the police, Malkhan confessed that Ranjit, while pointing the gun on Gurmohan’s temple, had pulled the trigger, though it did not work.

In a statement filed in court on March 11, while opposing the bail application of Ranjit, the police had also claimed that Puneet Chadha and Amarjit Singh, who were accompanying Gurmohan at the time of incident, also claimed that Ranjit had fired at the complainant.

The police failed to explain what took it more than one month to put this on record though Gurmohan and his two friends were always available for investigation. The strangest claim of the police regarding firing by Ranjit was found in a statement of Ranjit the police presented in court on March 11.

Before March 11, the police had filed two applications in court, on March 4 while applying for the police remand of Ranjit, and on March 6 while requesting the court to send him to judicial custody.

In these applications, the police never revealed that Ranjit had confessed to having fired at Gurmohan. Contrary to this, the police told the court that Ranjit had not cooperated with it and told it about Malkhan, one of his two accomplices.

On March 11, in the reply file by the police in court against Ranjit’s regular bail application, the police had a different story to tell. In its reply, the police claimed that Ranjit himself confessed to pulling the trigger.

Following the arrest of Mahender on March 13, the police again came up with a contradictory statement. The SHO of the Chandi Mandir police station, inspector Jangsher, said the police had recovered a walkie-talkie from Mahender.

He was not carrying any weapon at the time of the incident, said the SHO. Since it was dark, the victim took the walkie-talkie for a gun, he said.

It was to be seen how the police would prove that Ranjit had attempted to kill Gurmohan when it had failed to recover any weapon from Mahender.



Open House
UT unclear on reshaping of the Industrial Area
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Chandigarh Administration continues to dabble in experimenting with the growth of the Industrial Area without a clear cut policy. Its ambitious plans of transforming the look of the entire area went kaput the day Centre confiscated its conversion amount of more than Rs 500 crores. The expected infrastructural upgradation never occurred which means adding burden to the existing service lines, particularly roads, water, sewerage and electricity, which needed a natural attention.

The result is that there is no visible change in the look of the area, except a few buildings. There appear no takers for the shops in the two malls with report of just one company beginning it's functioning at a mall and only a few shops in the multiplex.

Interestingly, the area has already been rechristened Chandigarh Industrial and Business Park. The changed name, in reality, cannot be seen on the signboards. Till date, majority of industrialists have not even changed the address on the work pads because a postman will be unable to identify the changed addresses.

The path was paved for a new look business park with the policy of conversions. The UT danced on its plans according to its "financial deals" of the hour. Although the administration bosses claim to be acting only according to the changed needs of the times, it will not be too off the mark to make comparison of the administration to a real estate investor if one followed the sequence of events.

First, the administration decided to allow conversion in plots not measuring les than four acres. The logic given earlier for not allowing smaller plots was that they could not handle the parking spaces for the expected rush and even the fire equipment could not be expected to deliver the expected results, in case of an emergency. However later, the area span for conversion was reduced to one acre which was followed by four kanals and then finally even two kanals.

The UT has been communicated to by different groups in different representations that a multiplex in the Industrial area would require a parking space for at least 500 cars. The existing infrastructure provides for a lesser parking and the rush will, quite naturally, spill over to the roads.

In a representation it has been sought that "a proper investigation be done and the Industrial Area be developed in a planned manner as envisaged in the first notification of 2005. It is also sought that the price be implemented according to the original plans."

Industrialists have sought that administration "must see the development in Delhi\Haryana\Punjab where the definition of industry has been changed by including Information Technology, Bio-technology, Telecommunication, Healthcare, entertainment, warehouse and automobile servicing sectors. These are the new industries and it should be ensured that parking spaces are provided within the premises".

Conversion money 'gone'

The money collected from conversions has gone to the central fund so the Industrial Area, christened as 'Business Park' has not adorned the expected form. The cash collection of over Rs 500 crores, till date, was supposed to be spent on developing the infrastructure in the entire area. Except for certain attempts for creating parking slots, there have been no significant changes.

The industrialists, at different points of time, have highlighted the expected load on the infrastructure, particularly in Phase II. The Chandigarh Industries' Association, said had voiced its plans of taking up the matter with the MHA. The industry had also reacted very strongly to 'the decision to put the entire amount in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI)' saying it was a 'bolt from the blue'.

The centre had pointed out that 'opening a fund would amount to bypassing parliamentary procedures. It also made a mention of the alleged irregularities in the conversion policy as recently pointed out by MHA's special audit'.

The loss of money was a clear dampener on the spirit of growth expected in the area.

No major change in infrastructure

The administration has not been able to ensure a corresponding change in the infrastructure of the industrial area to match with the expected changes in wake of conversions.

No work could be carried out for planning the sewerage of the industrial area in wake of the changes. With new hotels, malls and multiplexes, the existing pipelines were definitely not adequate, even the officials accept.

There has been no creation of parking spaces independently by the administration. The malls may be expected to provide for parking of rush at their premises, however, for additional rush, the administration too is expected to get in place the required site preparations. There is also no visible change in the road stretches in the vicinity of the area.

Industrialists feel the administration needs to be prepared for upgrading the existing power lines. The malls, hotels and multiplexes meant higher power consumption with a corresponding change in the supply lines.

Illegal trade flourishing

Common trade is not allowed in the industrial area. The provision, in reality, exists only on papers. On ground the entire area is dotted with shops. Infact, there is a voice gathering force that on the pattern of Delhi, the UT too should allow health and education, besides others.

The entire industrial area is dotted with illegal shops, in both the phases. These outlets include garments, coffee shops, utencil outlets and even banks. The issue involved is not just the legality of the matter it also involves a relook on the changed business scenario.

The long drawn administrative procedure for taking action against defaulters is one of the biggest reasons for illegal trade practices in the area. In first place, the Estate Office issues notice which is followed by a resumption notice. In his appeal, an industrialist goes to the Finance Secretary which takes several months, maybe more than an year.

Even if he loses here, the industrialist approaches the office of the Adviser which could take another long time. Even if he lost here, the industrialist has the option of going to Punjab and Haryana High Court. The matter drags in the court over a long time. In reality, there have been negligible cases of property resumption in the industrial area.

No takers for hardware in IT

Chandigarh Administration has allowed hardware industry of information technology in the Industrial Area, however, there is not even a single taker from the past nearly six months. The reason given for not allowing the software industry is a fear of a rush in the industrial area.

Voices in the power corridors accept that the administration was consciously not allowing the software industry in the industrial area because its dream project of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park has not shaped up, as was expected. One wonders what was wrong in leaving open space in the UT, maybe for future needs, when there was scope for IT software industry in the existing in the industrial area, as well.

Chandigarh Tribune will like to have your opinion on the recent developments in the Industrial Area, lacunae, corresponding changes and expected problems. Write your experience and suggestions for a better development in the area to the Open House, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh or openhouse@tribunemail.com



Illegal taxi operators having the last laugh
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

A private bus parked on the road separating Sectors 21 and 22

An illegal taxi stand being run from Sector 49, Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari, Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, March 12
For those running transport business illegally, city happens to be a happy hunting ground, as the Chandigarh administration and the municipal corporation authorities have failed to check the illegal plying and parking of their vehicles.

Taking advantage of this, taxi and bus operators have been evading taxes running into crore of rupees.

Even though the authorities claim that special teams have been keeping an eye on such activities regularly, the mushrooming of such operators and taxi stands belie the claims.

During a visit to one of the starting points of these operators, it was found that most bus operators who did not have permit of the state transport authority preferred to schedule their bus services in the city during night or early morning hours.

They are aware of the fact that there is no checking by state transport authority (STA) inspectors in the city during these hours.

The Chandigarh administration may have shifted the ISBT from Sector 17 to Sector 43 but these illegal bus operators have been operating their services from Sectors 17 and 22.

A bus operator, on the condition of anonymity, said it was difficult to get a ticket at the ISBT-17 for certain routes but their company provided service by charging extra for the routes.

The city lacks a proper parking place for three-wheelers, due to which most of the times vehicles are parked along the roads, leading to traffic jams and, sometimes, accidents.

In some sectors, a deserted piece of land is used by auto-rickshaw drivers to park their vehicles without paying any fee to the authorities.

Similarly, as per the municipal corporation records there are 54 notified and six provisional taxi stands in the city but around 50 have been functioning illegally i.e. without obtaining a permit from the municipal corporation.

Sources said most taxi stands set up in new sectors of the city are running their businesses illegally from the municipal corporation’s land, as the corporation has not earmarked any space for taxi stands in these sectors.

A taxi stand owner, pleading anonymity, said it was easier to run an illegal taxi stand than a legal one in the city, as none of the illegal taxi stands had been closed down by the authorities for the past two years.

Teams of corporation officials visit legal taxi stands to check the execution of terms and condition of the accord between them and the taxi owners. Sometimes, warnings are issued to those taxi stand owners who pay licence fee regularly for violating the norms.

Raising an objection, a taxi stand owner questioned the rationale behind paying fee to the authorities when illegal taxi stand owners were enjoying the benefits. Former Mayor Pardeep Chhabra stated that there was a need to streamline the transport policy in the city so that those paying the licence fee were the ones who availed of the benefits.



CME on Rheumatology
Experts dwell on ailments, cure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The department of internal medicine of the PGI organised a continuous medical education programme on rheumatology here today. The programme started with a welcome address by Prof KK Talwar, Director of the institute.

The CME kicked off with a session on vasculitides in which Prof Paul Bacon, Emeritus Prof from University of Birmingham, spoke on diagnosis and management of this disorder.

Prof Bacon has been working in the field of vasculitides for over four decades and has been involved in the development of classification system and disease activity scores of these disorders.

He said there was a heterogeneous group of disorders causing inflammatory destruction of the blood vessels. Each of the vasculitis diseases was defined by certain patterns of distribution of blood vessel involvement, particular organ involvement and laboratory test abnormalities. These were commonly classified into large vessel, medium vessel and small vessel vasculitis.

“Early recognition and correct management is important to prevent damage to various organs of the body like lungs, kidneys, heart, brain, skin, etc,” said Prof Paul. He emphasised the need for correct diagnosis to manage these potentially life-threatening conditions. Prof Bacon interacted with doctors from the surrounding areas and patients suffering from these diseases.

Dr Aman Sharma, organising secretary of the CME, delivered a talk on the approach to correct diagnosis of various rheumatic diseases and differentiating these from their close mimics.

These were cases like ochronosis, presenting as low backache, familial hypercholesterolemia, presenting with joint pains and swellings, behcets disease, presenting with conjunctival ulcer, psoriatic arthritis, H1N1 in refractory Wegener’s Granulomatosis, acute takayasu arthritis and polyarthritis nodosa.

During a session on rheumatoid arthritis, Prof Rohini Handa, president, APLAR and IRA, discussed its diagnosis and appropriate management with conventional drugs.

Dr Amita Aggawal talked about the recent advances in its management and when and how the new biological therapies should be used. These therapies have brought hope for patients with refractory disease but are very costly and have to be closely monitored for side effects.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting up to 1-2 per cent of adult population. It is a multi-system disease and the damage occurs early. So, correct diagnosis and early and appropriate therapy is a must to prevent or minimize the damage. Raynauds phenomenon causes pallor followed by bluish discoloration of fingers, which is exaggerated in winters. Dr Vikas Aggarwal from the SGPGI, who is doing a collaborative study with the PGI on the subject, delivered a talk on the management of the disorder.

Gout is an arthritis known to affect the human race since time immemorial. Till recently, there not many drugs are available to treat this condition.

Dr Uma Kumar from AIIMS delivered a talk on newer drugs recently made available.

Dr Liza Rajshekar delivered a talk on diagnosis and management of APLA. This disorder results in arterial and venous occlusion and recurrent pregnancy losses.

This session was of particular interest to gynaecologists. Dr Balakrishna from Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai, delivered a talk on musculoskeletal examination in rheumatology practice.

This CME was attended by over 200 delegates, which included physicians, orthopaedicians, pathologists, nephrologists and gynaecologists.



Burning of leaves goes unchecked
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
In spite of the possibility of a strong punitive action against violators, the burning of dry leaves and grass continues unabated in various parts of the city. In the name of beautification, the practice of burning of leaves is quite common in the city. Each morning, sweepers in almost every sector cause air pollution and create health hazard for local residents by burning heaps of dry leaves.

For the past several days, dry leaves and waste matter are being burnt almost daily along the road separating Sector 32-33, in Sectors 20, 27 and 29 and others parts of the town.

Municipal corporation workers burning leaves in Sector 33 said they were doing so under instructions from their seniors.

In spite of the municipal corporation having sufficient manpower and vehicles to ferry grass, dry leaves, etc. to dumping areas, it was surprising that the officials had issued such instructions.

Though officials had ensured to check the practice, sources said the practice was continuing.

The apex court has also banned the burning of dry leaves.

Amrit Lal, a resident of Sector 33, said in the morning hours when a large number of people go for morning walk, they come across smoke from areas where garbage and residue of trees were burnt.

“The UT administration should take punitive action against those indulging in the act. At times we have seen MC workers burn plastic waste and garbage too,” he added.

Dr RK Goel, a senior government doctor, said burning could lead to various health complications among patients having problem of asthma, allergy and other respiratory and lung-related diseases.

High concentration of pollutants could even be fatal, said HS Walia, another doctor. The burning of dry leaves released toxins in high concentrations, causing an increase in the breathing rate, unconsciousness and even death in certain cases, he added.

Bharat Vikas Manch general secretary Ashok Singhal, in a communiqué to the MC authorities, said as the UT administration had already imposed a ban on the burning of dry leaves to protect environment and it should strictly enforce the ban.



Bank Locker Theft
Nine months on, complainant awaits lodging of FIR
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Even nine months after a Sector-20 resident reported theft of jewellery worth Rs 10 lakh from his locker in Punjab National Bank, Sector 22, the Chandigarh police has failed to register a case into the matter.

The police has reportedly been inquiring into the matter all along, ignoring the concerns raised by the complainant, Harminder Singh of Sector 20.

On January 14, he had offered the then UT DGP SK Jain to undergo a lie-detector test to clear any doubts the police had about the veracity of his claims. However, he got no reply from the police.

The police had only registered a daily diary report (DDR) into the incident on June 18, the day of the incident.

After dodging his queries all along, the police, in its reply to his RTI query on March 4, refused to share information saying “it would impede the process of inquiry”.

Forced by the indifferent attitude of the police, Harminder has moved court and a notice has been issued to the police asking it to file its reply into the matter in April.

Casting aspersions on the police, Harminder alleged that it had recorded neither his statement nor of any bank official so far.

Interestingly, an expert of the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory had detected tool marks on lockers during preliminary examination and told the police to send the same to their laboratory in Sector 36 for examination.

The police not only failed to send the locker to the CFSL, it got it examined by a private mechanic, ignoring their instructions to seal the same to prevent tampering.

Harassed by the indifference of the police, Harminder Singh told the TNS that apart from the police and the UT Administrator, he had moved the National Commission for Women, the National Human Rights Commission, the Central Vigilance Commission, office of the Banking Ombudsman and Punjab National Bank but to no avail.

Surprised at the police’s approach on the matter, an officer said: “It is amazing why the police is hesitating from registering a case. They should register the case and probe the matter as per the Supreme Courts directions. If anything comes out during probe, it should file a charge-sheet or dispose of the case. If the complainant is found guilty, he can be proceeded against under Section 182 of the IPC for lodging a false complaint.”



Anti-sexual harassment committee reconstituted
Sonika Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The Chandigarh district courts reconstituted the anti-sexual harassment committee on Friday. Earlier, the committee proved to be defunct as not even a single meeting was held in 13 years of its existence.

The committee consists of three members. As per the Supreme Court guidelines, the complaint mechanism should provide a special counsellor or other support service, including the maintenance of confidentiality.

A woman should head the committee and not less than half of its members should be women. Further, to prevent the possibility of any undue pressure or influence from senior level, such committees should involve a third party, either an NGO or other body that is familiar with the issue of sexual harassment.

The order reads: “In compliance with the directions given by the Supreme Court of India, in a case Vishakha and others versus Rajasthan and others, reported in Judgment yesterday, 1997 (7) Supreme Court 1984, a complaint committee is hereby reconstituted for the protection of working women of the court as well as other subordinate courts from sexual harassment.”

Civil judge Anshul Berry has been appointed as the chairperson of the committee. Other two members include Swarn Lata, translator in the court, and advocate Mukesh Mittal, who is the president of the Bar Council.

According to the guidelines, an institute needs to express prohibition of sexual harassment at the workplace, it should be notified, published and circulated in appropriate ways, but nothing had been done here in this regard.

“I have been working here for more than two years, but never heard about such a committee,” said an advocate.

Justice Anshul Berry said she had been informed about the committee and will try to work on it on a regular basis.

Sources claimed that the committee needs to meet once in a month and it had been years that any meeting had been organised. “We hope the new chairman takes the initiative and meets on a regular basis,” Gunjeet Kaur, joint secretary, Bar Association said.

The appointment as a member, however, came as a surprise to Mukesh Mittal, who was not even informed by the administration. “I am getting to know this from you,” he said. This shows that the committee has been constituted under a pressure, as the members are not informed about it.

According to the sources the committee is on paper only as it is not functional. “What a three-member committee can do. This is just a formality. A counsellor as well as a third party, outside the institution, is required, but here all of them are from the institute itself, which change almost every year,” said sources.

“The committee is unconstitutional as it is not established as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court. We will challenge the establishment of the committee,” Vishal Kathuria, vice-president of the Global Human Rights Council told The Tribune.



Punjab Haat to offer distinct cuisines
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 14
Following green signal to the Punjab Haat-cum-amusement park project of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) in Sector 62, the consultant of the project has envisaged a traditional permanent market wherein visitors could browse and purchase skilfully crafted handcrafts and savour distinct cuisine.

The facility has been planned on around 17 acres in the Central Business District (CBD), Sector 62 here. It has been handed over to the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) to get the project implemented on design-built operate and transfer basis.

In a draft outline, the consultants have advised segregation of the Punjab Haat in four zones - art and handicraft zone, food court zone, games zone and stage show zone. Similarly, the amusement park would constitute of water park, a dry park, go-karting track, a musical fountain and open laser shows. The water park would have wave pool, multilane slides, tunnel slides, rafts and other rides.

Selected private sector player would design, plan, establish the project components, finance, construct, market, operate, maintain and manage utilities, facilities and equipments of the project during the concession period.

GMADA would lease the land to the lessee for the concession period of 30 years and the project would be structured for capital investment to be brought in by the selected private sector player.

GMADA would be paid an annual concession fee or a percentage of the revenue generated from the project facility, whichever is higher.



SCs, sewermen to get one-room flats
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Sewermen of the Chandigarh engineering department and the Municipal Corporation and Scheduled Castes, as notified for the Union Territory, have reason to cheer.

The Chandigarh administration has decided to allot them 320 one-room flats under the Dr Ambedkar Awas Yojana-2009, scripted and notified by the UT administration in August, 2009.

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) had already initiated the process of shortlisting eligible applicants, determining and verifying their eligibility and drawing the number of applicants under each sub-scheme equal to double the number of flats available.

The CHB has been entrusted with the task of construction of 320 one-room flats, 160 in Sector 56 and 80 each in Sector 38 West and Sector 49. The scheme has been scripted in consonance with the guidelines issued by the Central government under Dr Ambedkar Awas Yojana for rehabilitation of the SCs. Each flat consists of one large room, a toilet and a balcony.

The scheme is divided into two sub-schemes. Under the sub-scheme A, 240 flats will be allotted to the SCs as notified for the UT, and 80 flats to sewermen of the engineering department and the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. The allotment will be made on the basis of seniority as on January 1, 1997.



Two booked for assaulting jawan
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 14
The police booked two persons for assaulting an Army official and allegedly tearing his uniform, near Zirakpur-Kalka barrier, at Dhakoli village here last night. The accused have been identified as Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Dashmesh Colony, Zirakpur, and Jarnail Singh, a resident of Sohana village, Mohali.

According to the police, Naik Anand Kumar, a driver of the military truck posted at K-Area along with Naik Bawan Singh, was carrying ration from Zirakpur to Sector 12-A Panchkula.

While reaching near Dhakoli railway crossing, a truck coming from Zirakpur hit the driver side of the truck and managed to flee from the scene.

Anand Kumar said he traced the truck near Zirakpur-Panchkula barrier. When asked why they hit their vehicle into the military truck, the truck driver manhandled him and torn his official uniform.

The SHO, Zirakpur, stated that the two accused had been arrested and a case had been registered on the complaint of Anand Kumar.

11 booked in dowry case

The police booked 11 persons in a dowry and assault case on the complaint of Kamaldeep Singh, a resident of Lalru village. The suspects have been identified as Happy and Harjit Singh, both residents of Patiala, and nine unknown persons.

The police stated that the complainant alleged that his sisters had got married with Happy and Raju, sons of Surjit Singh, and suitable dowry was given. He alleged that his sisters were being harassed for dowry time and again.

On March 12 when the complainant was at his shop the accused assaulted him and took away the money from his hands, the police added.


MOHALI: Kuldip Singh, a resident of Sector 70, reported to the police that he had parked his jeep in front of his house on March 10 and the next morning it was stolen. A case has been registered.



Mining shut, building material prices up
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 14
The closure of mining operations in rivers of the district has started pinching on the pockets of consumers of building material. Prices of sand, gravel and boulders have been increased by around 25 per cent since March 1.

Stocks with contractors have started depleting. Mining had been shut in Haryana from March 1 pending a court case. A special leave petition had been filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the time granted to Haryana by the high court for framing of terms of reference for environmental clearance.

This petition would be taken up for hearing on March 19, after which the fate of mines in the state would be known. Following this, the high court would take up the matter again on March 26.

The stocks lying with contractors and crusher owners would be over within the next one month, following which prices of the material were bound to skyrocket, said Vijay Aggarwal, a mining contractor.

A survey of the market revealed that the price of sand, measuring 100 cubic feet, was Rs 1,000, up from Rs 800 last month, while gravel (bajri) of the same quality was available for Rs 1,500, up from Rs 950.

This was not the first time mining in the area was stopped, resulting in thousands of families leaving for other destinations and spiralling prices of building material.



Sec-26 police station sans inspector
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
While certain police stations in the city have more than two inspectors to take care of routine policing, the Sector-26 police station is virtually being run by a sub-inspector.

Sub-inspector Sheeshpal is looking after the affairs of the police station after inspector Raghbir Singh retired a few days ago as SHO of the police station.

The additional charge of the police station was given to the sub-inspector after the top brass could not decide on the successor. On the other hand, the Sector-34 police station has three inspectors — Udeypal Singh (SHO), Sriprakash (additional SHO) and Dilsher Singh (in-charge, Sector 49 police post).

Similarly, the Sector-39 police station has two inspectors — Janak Rana (SHO) and Hardit Singh (additional SHO).

Also, the Sector-17 and Mani Majra police stations have two inspectors — Jaswinder Singh and Gurjit Kaur and inspectors Partap Singh and Gurmukh Singh, respectively.



Spirit depot near stadium potential threat
Tribune News Service

A spirit depot functioning from a house behind the PCA stadium at Phase IX in Mohali. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, March 14
While the Mohali police has conducted a thorough search of the residential area around the PCA stadium during the ongoing IPL matches, the potential hazard of spirit depot in a house immediately behind the stadium in Phase IX has failed to catch the attention of the police.

At the spirit depot, authorised by the district excise department, the commodity is sold in retail. Residents of the area complained that commercial activity was taking place in the residential area. Besides, the highly inflammable substance posed danger to thousands of people who visited the stadium during matches. One of the entry gates to the stadium is just a few yards away from the spirit depot.



Mayor visits Sectors 50, 51
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Mayor Anu Chatrath yesterday visited Sectors 50 and 51 to look into the problems of the residents of the area.

Earlier, she held a meeting with the Senior Citizens Association of Sector 38 in the community centre. She was accompanied by SE (B & R) Mukesh Anand and SE (public health) RK Goyal. During inspection, she instructed the officials to make provision of road gullies, maintenance of parks, provision of paver blocks around the parks and construction of speed breakers near schools.



Painting contest for underprivileged
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, March 14
“Saplings-Care, We Share” in collaboration with “Nanhe Kadam” organised a painting competition for the underprivileged children at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, here yesterday.

The competition, which had over 250 participants, aimed at making these kids not only aware of various environmental issues, but also catalyse their thinking towards making a difference.

Aneesh Goel, one of the founder members of “Nanhe Kadam”, congratulated participants. He said the endeavour helped in exploring hidden talent of numerous kids.

“It is encouraging to see these kids work. Their collective effort will help them deal with various environmental erosions,” added, Neenu Vij, president, “Saplings-Care, We Share”.



40 take part in singing contest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 14
A singing competition “Singing Star 2010” based on film/non film songs was organised under the aegis of the Chandigarh Institute of Performing Arts (CIPA) at the Government Museum Auditorium here today.

As many as 40 contestants, including 13 female singers in the age group of 16 and plus participated in the final contest adjudged by HM Singh and Sunita Nain.

Joginger Bhalla and Anika were adjudged the CIPA singing star in the male and female categories.

In 16-25 years category Harjeet Singh (I), Rakesh Kumar (II) and Anil Bhardwaj (III). In 26-35 years Ashish Verma (I), Dr Syan Bhattacharraya (II), and Sarita Rani (III). In 36 years onwards category SK Madhok (I), Rampal Raghav (II) and Sadhana Sanger (III).



Prize distribution function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The 37th annual prize distribution function of GGDSD College, Sector 32-C, Chandigarh, was held on the college premises yesterday. Principal Dr AC Vaid read out the annual report of the college. He enlisted the significant achievements of the college, its faculty and students during the academic session 2009-10, along with elaborating the future vision of the college in terms of potential research and development, infrastructure enhancement and innovative courses and projects being undertaken.

The grant has been allocated for various professional courses to strengthen the academic and physical infrastructure. In addition, another landmark achievement of the college during the session includes the introduction of postgraduate diploma in animation and computer graphics, under the innovative programme “Teaching and Research in Interdisciplinary and Emerging Areas” launched by the UGC.

Around 955 prizes were distributed.

About 29 roll of honour, 43 college colours, 218 certificates of distinction and 675 certificates were given to students with commendable performances in various fields, along with 15 certificates of honour to students for their noble gesture of donating their scholarship money to needy students of the college.

Around 10 students were awarded roll of honour.

Jaytika Cheba of MBE II, Shweta Grover of PGDMM, Pooja Chaudhary of PGDPM&LW, Hemkiran Jain of BCom-III, Khushbu Garg of BBA-III, Chetna Janveja of MSc biotech-II, Sonia Mahajan of MSc bioinformatics-II, Vandana of BSc bioinformatics-III, Shivani Angal of PGDCA and Yukti Srivastava of BCA-III, were honoured with for bagging top positions in Panjab University annual examination held in April, 2009.

Nearly 17 students, including Pulkit Sood, Amanjot, Gurpreet, Satinder, Sunil, Varinder, Ravinder, Inderjit, Deepika, Sandeep, Rakesh, Pawan, Bhawana, Manpreet, Mandeep, Sourab, Mohinder were awarded the roll of honour for winning positions in various prestigious national, inter-university and inter-college championships during the current academic session.

The honour was also bestowed upon Vibhuti Jain of BSc-III and Manish Bhatia of BBA-III for their consistent achievements in various extra-curricular activities during the PU Youth Festival and other inter-college and inter-university contests.



Auditions for talent hunt at GCM-11
SD Sharma

A participant during the audition of ‘Dancer of Chandigarh’ at the Government College for Men in Chandigarh on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 14
Academics and aesthetics compliment each other at Gurukul Vidyapeeth, which has teamed up to identify and promote the promising talented artistes from the region. Audition for the mega talent hunt “Dancer of Chandigarh” for age group 18 to 25 was held at Government College for Men (GCM)-11 here today.

Dr Vandana Diasodia, director of Industries, Chandigarh administration, was the chief guest, while film actress Usha Sharma, now director of the Haryana Kala Parishad, and Dr Swapnil Karmahe were the judges.

More than 262 participants from the various schools and colleges in and around the city participated.

Another preliminary round for screening participants for “Voice of Chandigarh” and “Dancer of Chandigarh” will be conducted on March 21 at the college. The finale would be held on September 28.

Manmohan K Garg, CEO Gurukul Vidyapeeth, said: “Genuine talents do not really get an opportunity. So, we will provide a platform for raw talents and prospect to get them polished through experienced personalities. The audition for “Voice of Chandigarh” at the school-level has already been organised and the preliminary round of “Dance Talent Hunt” has been encouraging the competitors and organisers,” he added.

“The Great Chandigarh Laughter Challenge” and “Olympiad for Special Children” would also be organised soon, said Manmohan.

The winner of the talent hunt will also get an opportunity to work in the audio-visual projects of the Gurukul Vidyapeeth and S-4 Trust.



Annual planner system for college teachers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
In a bid to establish a corporate and systematised ambiance, the UT education department will set up an “annual planner” system for teachers in the city colleges. Under the scheme, the teachers would be required to set “weekly target” for themselves to complete the whole syllabus.

The plan, which has been initiated on pilot basis, aims to ease the job of teachers as well as students by dividing the syllabus in weekly targets.

“The system will smoothen the process in colleges and since the scheme has been set up on pilot basis, we are awaiting the feedback,” said director of higher education, Ajoy Sharma.

After having launched the feedback system for evaluation of teachers in the city colleges, the department will now introduce self-motivation programme for teachers through the annual planner system.

Besides, from the next session personality development classes would also be started.

With the aim to target 14,000 students, the education department will conduct workshops. While CToss is already offering its courses in various institutes, the department, with the assistance of the faculty of Regional Institute of English (RIE), would be conducting a series of computer and English classes between August to November in free periods.

Meanwhile, with the University Grants Commission (UGC) encouraging the colleges by granting aid to start coaching classes within the college campus, the UT education department has already plunged into establishing centres for training of IAS and other examinations in city colleges.

Initially, the department will approach the staff and counsellors to sensitise them. The centres would also conduct psychometric testing for students and various experts would be asked to contribute to the centres.



Collection of funds by DEO
Lunch for principals draws flak

Mohali, March 14
A few days after the alleged scam involving collection of funds by the Mohali district education office to honour government teachers raised many eyebrows, an “exclusive” lunch for some principals and their spouses, extended by the Mohali District Education Office on Sunday has again raised several questions.

DEO Nirajan Singh said it was a private party and those principals who were promoted in the district were invited for the party. Certain teachers were given a wrong twist to the party. However, some of the promoted principals denied that they had organised the party.

Sources in the education department said the party had been organised in light of the alleged scam involving collection of funds by the Mohali District Education Office (DEO) to organise a district-level function to honour government teachers.

“The details of the funds collected from teachers under the Sikhya Pratibha Award Committee should be made public,” said a teacher. A few days ago, the lid on the scam was blown off when certain schools objected to the “forcible” move of the higher authorities to collect funds in a covert manner. The district education officials had reportedly collected lakhs. — TNS



135 degrees awarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Government Home Science College, Sector 10, held its 42nd annual convocation and prize distribution function yesterday. Dr Rita G Singh read out the annual report and enlisted the achievements of the college.

A total of 135 degrees were awarded. In MSc child development, Nupur Bhatnagar was honoured for claiming the first position. Other toppers, who were honoured, are Swati Chadha of MSc food and nutrition, Chandana Rajput of MSc clothing and textile, Dr Ravneet Chawla of advanced diploma in child guidance and family counselling, Praveen Singh of postgraduate diploma in nutrition and dietetics, Rupinder Kaur of postgraduate diploma in fashion designing and Bhavina Aggarwal of BSc home science.

Garima Saxena bagged the best all-round student award, Dr Devi award was given to Apoorva Tandon, Sherie Doongaji award was bagged by Bhavina Aggarwal, while Manju Sharma and KP Sinha awards were given to Ekta Goyal.

Ram Niwas, IAS, Home-cum-Education Secretary, Chandigarh administration, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Principal Dr Rita G Singh proposed vote of thanks.



Panel discussion on architectural education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The student body of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, (CASA), organised a panel discussion on subject-architecture education model-synchronising academic curriculum and professional demands here today.

The panelists included Dr Prabhjot Kaur, MArch from IIT, Roorkee, Vikramaditya Prakash, faculty at Washington University, Zafar Chaudhary, architect, and Sangeet Sharma, owner of an architectural firm.

Dr Kaur provided everyone with a survey database on architectural education. She also threw light upon the often-neglected field of human aspect and behaviour. Vikram Aditya Prakash compared the present day Indian scenario with that of the United States. He even suggested building of centres of excellence in architectural studies throughout the country. Zafar emphasised on the confluence of the practitioner and the industry to develop a mere graduate into a specialist. Sangeet Sharma had practical approach towards the subject.



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