C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PUSU president’s cars set afire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Four days after a group of students opened fire on a rival group, the same group (SOPU) allegedly burnt a Pajero and a Maruti Esteem car belonging to PUSU president Udey Singh at his Sector 11 house in the wee hours of today.

Udey’s father Bhupinder Singh accused the police of not only shielding the accused, but also trying to force them to reach a compromise with the culprits.

Bhupinder Singh, an advocate, said he would take up the issue with the IGP and request him to transfer the probe to an independent agency. “The police is pressuring us to reach a compromise while the accused are roaming freely and threatening us,” he alleged.

While showing the damaged vehicles at his house, he said his wife and sons were feeling apprehensive of their security as the miscreants had no fear of the police. The Sector 11 police station is about 100 m away from his house.

The interior of the Pajero was gutted along with the tyres while the Esteem’s rear portion was badly burnt. “Fortunately, the fuel tanks were not full otherwise the fire could have spread,” he said.

The incident occurred around 4 am when he woke up to the sound of footsteps. He peeped through the window and saw Ajaypal Singh, Gaggi Bajwa and Barinder Dhillon, along with two others (whom he claimed he could identify if produced before him), scaling the gate of his house. Bhupinder then called out to his sons in a hushed voice.

Barinder Dhillon and Ajaypal allegedly broke the left rear windowpane of the Pajero, sprinkled oil and set it afire. The others allegedly set the other car on fire.

“We tried calling the police, but failed in our attempts. Finally, when the police took his call, it took about 15 minutes to reach the spot. In the meantime, we managed to bring the fire under control,” he said, alleging that some of the accused even fired from automatic weapons.

The police, he added, had “falsely” impounded a countrymade pistol from an accused arrested in an earlier case in which some miscreants had opened fire on him and his son. “It shows the intentions of the police to scuttle the probe as the bullet is not likely to match the weapon,” he stated.

The police had earlier registered a case of attempt to murder, rioting and criminal intimidation against Vikramjit Singh, Ajay Pal Singh, Robin Brar, Jaswinder Singh, Harshvardan, Jasdeep Singh Dhillon, Vinay and Amit Bhatia. 

n Denying pressure on the complainants, the SSP, SS Srivastva, said a thorough investigation was being conducted into the case.

n The SHO of the Sector 11 police station, Inspector Sukhpal Rana, said a DDR had been registered and an expert from CFSL had examined the spot.

n A local court has extended the police remand of Vikramjit Singh and Robin Brar by a day. The police had moved the court, seeking narco test of the accused to find out the source of the weapons. The application would come up for hearing tomorrow.



Failure to take up urban reforms

Central team raps MC
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The MC today came in the firing line of a team of the union government for its failure to effect certain urban reforms to become eligible for grants under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

At a meeting presided by union urban development secretary M Ramchandran and attended by senior UT administration and MC officials to review the progress of JNNURM projects in the city, the civic body’s failure to hike water tariff, imposition of house tax, increase in sewerage charges and publication of the public disclosure law came in for criticism.

The MC was warned that if it did not go in for the reforms mandatory under JNNURM schemes, the grants would be withheld, derailing major development works in the city.

Sources said the team warned that about Rs 134 crore sanctioned to augment the water supply system as part of the Phases V and VI of the Kajauli water works would lapse if the UT administration did not settle issues with the Punjab government.

Recently, the Punjab government had put its foot down on the sharing of water with Chandigarh under Phases V and VI of the Kajauli water works. The scheme envisaged supply of an additional 40 million gallons per day (MGD) with the city’s share being 29 MGD and the rest to be shared between Punjab and Haryana.

The ministry had sanctioned Rs 171 crore for the project, of which 80 per cent (Rs.134 crore) was in the form of a grant to be provided by the central government under JNNURM and 10 per cent each was to be shared by the UT administration and the MC.

A senior official said the fate of the Rs 134-crore grant hung in balance after today’s meeting. He said five years had already elapsed without success on the laying of pipes up to the city under the Kajauli project. The corporation still had two years to settle the issue with Punjab to avoid the lapse of the grant.


n No progress on committed urban reforms irks central team

n MC asked to settle issue with Punjab on Kajauli project

n Fate of Rs 171-cr Kajauli project hangs in balance

n Central team theatens to withhold JNNURM grants



Implementation of projects discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
In order to lay a road map for implementation of reforms and projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission during the year 2010-11, a meeting was held with eight northern states/UTs here today.

Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Urban Development, M Ramchandran, presided over the meeting. Secretaries of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh attended the meeting.

The agenda of the meeting was to take stock of the progress of implementation of the Urban Infrastructure Governance Projects and Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns with definite timeline for completion.

Issues concerning Chandigarh included two projects being implemented by the municipal corporation, Chandigarh, which included upgradation of water supply infrastructure for proper monitoring and automation with computerised surveillance and conservation of drinking water by harvesting of tertiary treated sewage water for irrigation of green spaces in Chandigarh. The team from the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, was apprised that under the first project, 200 numbers of tubewells, water works and boosting stations were in progress for better management, reduction in manpower and operation & maintenance cost of water supply system. The work involves installation of software supervisory control and data acquisition system for tubewells and boosters, electro magnetic flow meters for tubewells and providing sluice valve and actuators. The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 20.26 crore and the project will be completed by December 31, 2010.

Under the conservation of drinking water project, 10 MGD sewage water will be treated to tertiary level and will be brought back for irrigation purposes which will save fresh water. The work for it involves construction of a tertiary treatment plant. The total cost of the project is Rs 36.72 crore and the entire work will be completed by December 31, 2010.

The third issue pertaining to Chandigarh was purchase of buses for city operation. Under the project, 100 buses, 40 AC and 60 non-AC, are being purchased, of which, 30 non-AC buses have already been procured.The project cost is Rs 39.65 crore.



Differing in background, but sharing same values 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The son of a humble Punjab government peon, Barinder Thapa, a class 8 student, got admission to the city’s prestigious St John’s School in Sector 26 under the reserved category for economically weaker sections. On the other hand, Divir Gupta, a class 10 student in the same school, is an IAS officer’s son. The two boys may have disparate socioeconomic backgrounds, but this morning they figured on the same stage to receive the Ranvijay award for being the ‘nicest boy’ in the school.

Though the honour, which also included a cash award of Rs 12,500 each, left the two students elated yet the awards carried with them a different significance for both.

“I had once come upon a note scribbled on a temple wall, which said ‘Love is the greatest wealth in the world. Yearn for it and everything else will itself come to you’. Today’s honour is a realisation of this saying,” says Barinder.

Crediting his father from whom he claims to have inherited “goodness”, this 13-year-old considers the former’s life as peon as his driving force to stay on the path of goodness.

“From a young age itself I observed one gained respect by ‘position’, ‘wealth’ or ‘good conduct’. My father has never held a ‘big’ post but even his bosses would respect him. To me, earning that respect has always appeared more desirable as well as genuine,” he said.

For Divir, however, it was a dialogue in the Hollywood movie ‘Spider-Man’ that did wonders for him.

“I’ve always been a popular boy. The dialogue that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ impressed me a lot as I immediately connected it with my father. Over the years my circumstance of being a student, a son and a friend made me realise the importance of my responsibility. It was just watching my actions that helped me in having so many friends,” said Divir as he walked off to join his pals who were eagerly waiting for a treat.

Two other awardees at today’s function included Deepankar Chopra, the first student to be appointed the school sports captain, who was given the ‘best sportsman’ award. More than his performance it was his zeal to maintain team spirit and maintain high morale that earned him the award, which carried a cash award of Rs 10,000. The ‘best academician’ award went to Amandeep Chauhan, who holds a scholar badge, scholar tie and a scholar blazer ever since he joined school as a class 1 student. He too was awarded a cash prize of Rs 10,000. 

Ranvijay awards

The awards have been instituted under the aegis of the St John’s Old Boys Association Foundation by old boy Sandeep Goyal, chairman of Dentsu India, in memory of his classmate, the late Ranvijay Singh, who was known for his generous nature. The function was attended by Punjab & Haryana High Court justice Mahesh Grover, who was the chief guest, and old boy and senior advocate ML Sarin among others



60 fresh cases of diarrhoea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
About 60 fresh cases of diarrhoea have been reported in various government hospitals across the city. The total number of gastroenteritis cases has reached 190.

As many as 40 fresh cases were reported at the GMSH-16 today, seven at the PGI, and 13 cases at the GMCH-32. Dr G Verma, deputy medical superintendent of the GMSH-16, said seven gastroenteritis patients had been admitted to hospital. Almost 283 diarrhoea and typhoid cases have been reported in April. The symptoms of gastroenteritis are vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, weakness, dehydration, giddiness and muscle cramp.


Summer heralds water, power shortage
Our Correspondent

Mohali , April 12
The onset of summer has heralded shortage of water and power.

The pressure of water has reduced over the past many days, as a result of which, overhead tanks cannot be filled. Even those living on the upper floors are facing problems due to non-availability of adequate water.

Manmohan Kaur, a former municipal councillor, residing in Phase II, said the rising mercury level was responsible for the water shortage.

Overhead tanks were not being filled and people had to pump water from their storage tanks which are on the ground floor.

She said switching on of pumps on the main water pipe lines reduced the water pressure. Moreover, water being supplied was a bit muddy as well.

Kuldeep Singh of Phase VII said imposition of power cuts also reduced the water pressure.

He said the morning supply was somewhat satisfactory, but acute shortage was faced in the evening.

Water shortage was also being faced by residents of Phases IX to XI and Sector 68.

HPS Dhillon, executive engineer, Water Supply and Sanitation Wing, said there was a big gap between the demand and supply.

Residents of Phases IX to XI were the worst affected, as power cuts were being imposed during the water supply hours and the underground reservoir was not equipped with a hot line facility to pump water even when there was no power.

The demand of water in the summer was 23 mgd against the availability of only 13.4 mgd. Mohali was getting only 10 mgd of water from Kajauli waterworks and the rest of it was provided from tubewells.

While water supply to a major part of the town is provided by the Water Supply and Sanitation Wing, the civic body takes care of the water supply to Industrial Phases VI to IX and GMADA to Sectors 66 to 69.



Replacement of Water Supply Pipeline
Residents go without water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Due to the replacement of water supply pipeline in Sector 33-34 roundabout near Gulati Bhawan today, there was no water supply for the whole day in the sectors. The sectors include 20,21 C and D, 30 to 34, 44 to 47 and Industrial, Phase I and II.

Residents in various sectors said that it made no difference to them as it had become a routine affair and they were used to facing acute water shortage due to low pressure

Charanveer Kaur, a resident of Sector 20, lamented about the poor supply of water on the first floor. “The water supply is restricted to few hours in the morning and evening. And, to add to our problems, there is the power cut, which wrecks havoc with the supply of water. As there is no pressure in the water, there is no choice but to get water from the ground floor,” she rued.

Avinash, another resident of Sector 20, questioned the need of the department to repair water supply pipelines during summers. She said it was more of a harassment for the people. She complained that even the routine water supply, which they were getting, was muddy.

In Sector 30, Prof SK Sharma was fed up with the functioning of the department. “The authorities are laying new pipes in our sector. Whenever the work begins, they cut off supplies to our area. We have approached them to find out some way to ensure uninterrupted water supply, during this period, but they have failed to provide any relief to us,” he added.

Nirmal Prakash, resident of Sector 21, said that they did not get any supply of water today. He said the authorities did not make any foolproof arrangement, to check water pressure so that residents could call the department concerned to solve their problem.



Land Pooling Scheme
GMADA to issue another notice
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 12
All is not well with the land pooling scheme of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA). The prospective applicants need more clarifications about the commercial plots being offered under the scheme.

As per formulae worked out by the Akali government, for an acre the beneficiaries would get around 930 sq yard of residential plot and 121 sq yard of commercial plot. In the commercial plot, half of the area has to be kept for parking. “But the exact amount of covered area allowed and total parking space needs to be clarified,” said DP Singh Baidwan, convener of the Kisan Hit Bachao Committee.

In March, the GMADA had given a month’s public notice to the landowners to opt for the scheme. Though the notice period had lapsed, the authority is now issuing another public notice to explain in detail the commercial offering. Almost two years ago, the Punjab Cabinet approved the land-pooling scheme against acquisition of land for development projects.

ACA, Mohali, Balwinder Singh Multani, said through the second public notice, the landowners would be given some more time.

The option of the landowners is crucial for GMADA as it would increase or decrease the number of plots it would offer in the upcoming urban estate near the proposed international airport.

Around 800 acres are being acquired for mix-land use along the roads proposed to connect the international airport with the Zirakpur-Patiala and the Chandigarh-Kharar highways.

There are around 500 landowners, having small and big land holdings, whose land is being acquired for the mix-land use project between Chatt village and Sector 66-A of Mohali.

The land acquisition committee has already decided to give a land compensation of Rs 1.50 crore for an acre.



Housefed allottees seek Badal’s help
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 12
The Housefed Flat Sangarsh Committee lamented that officials in the Housefed were not keen on early completion of its project in Sector 79 here.

After a meeting of the committee held here today, NK Trehan, president of the committee, said the allottees were not being taken into confidence while taking decisions on construction of Housefed flats.

Citing example, the committee members said the Housfed had not taken the NOC from the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the ministry of environment.

Besides, the officials were non-committal on their earlier statement of paying interest on the amount deposited by each allottee with Housefed, they added. Intervention of the Chief Minister has been sought to put the project back on track.



Residents protest displacement
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 12
Tension prevailed in Gazipur village when residents of the area today learnt that they were being displaced of the land on which they had been living for years.

Alleging that it was being done at the behest of some SAD leaders, the villagers also tried to block the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway here.

Before 300 villagers could block the highway, the administration rushed the police force to the spot to avoid any law and order problem. The Banur MLA, Jasjit Singh Bunny, assured the protestors of taking up their issue with the higher authorities.

While talking to the mediapersons, the villagers stated that around 70 years back they had been brought to Gazipur from Dandrolon village, near Raipur Rani, to clean the forest land. They claimed after the completion of work they settled there and started tiling land. Since then they have been earning their living from the same land.

They alleged that Daljeet Kaur, an advocate, and another Dhanveer Singh had started forcing them to vacate the land. Later, the villagers approached a court where the commissioner of revenue department directed them to deposit the 25 per cent of the total value of the land so as to legally take over the land.

They alleged that the department concerned had issued a receipt of the amount they deposited. They said though 32 out of the 80 acres were under their possession, the rest of 48 acres are disputed. They alleged that a SAD leader had tried to forcibly take the possession from them.

On the other hand, advocate Daljit Kaur told to reporters that the villagers were brought by her ancestors to cut the forest and were given 32 acres so they could earn their bread. She alleged that the villagers had possessed the entire 80 acres. Daljit Kaur claimed that she had won a case and had all documents.

SDM, Dera Bassi, Puneet Goyal said after getting the information about the incident, he had reached the spot, along with the DSP, Dera Bassi, and the police force and controlled the situation. “We have asked the villagers to maintain law and order in the area,” he added.



Poll date out, councillors on ‘holiday’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 12
Even as certain councillors are on a “forced holiday” in the hills, away from the scorching heat to prevent them from being won over before the elections to the posts of president and senior vice-president, the administration has fixed April 15 as the date of the poll.

According to reports, some councillors owing allegiance to the SAD government were lured to go on a “forced holiday” soon after the Congress-backed president of the Mohali Municipal Council was removed from the post by the principal secretary, department of local government, on April 9.

The hand of the chairman of the District Planning Board NK Sharma in the disappearance of the councillors from the town is also not ruled out. However, Sharma when contacted said, “I am not behind the disappearance of the councillors. The election would be a reflection of the peoples’ mandate.” He added that the new president would be from the SAD.

Ever since the council elections were held in 2006, certain SAD leaders have been trying to capture power, but were unable to get the desired results.

More than 12 councillors who had been taken away to the hills are likely to stay there till April 15 from where they would be brought direct to the Municipal Bhawan, along with others, for taking part in the elections for the two vacant posts. It is not for the first time that these councillors have gone on a “forced holiday” to the hills.

When elections to the posts of senior vice-president and vice-president were held on January 30, last year, a group led by the then cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh had reached the civic body office in a luxury bus direct from the place where they had remained in hiding for many days. The bus was escorted by three police gypsies. Chaos had prevailed outside the council office building when a cavalcade of Akali leaders descended there in a dramatic manner.

Councillors had been taken away from the town even by Congress leaders when Rana was to become the president of the civic body in 2006. A similar situation had arisen in 2001 as well when Kulwant Singh was to become the president of the civic body.

However, soon after the executive officer of the council, Amna Kumar Goyal, today requested the Deputy Commissioner to appoint a convener for the elections of the civic body, SDM Ravinder Pal Singh Walia was assigned the duty of getting the elections conducted.

A letter to the council was sent in this regard which in turn had informed the councillors that the poll for the vacant posts would be held on April 15.

Rana, who was removed from the post on April 9, today approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court for filing a plea to get stay orders in connection with his removal.

He said his case could not be got listed due to some delay. The number of cases to be listed was also higher because of holidays falling around this period. He alleged that he was removed from the 
post under well planned strategy.



Deplorable state of affairs in slums
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Sharma

Chandigarh/Panchkula, April 12
When it comes to prevention of water-borne diseases, the Chandigarh as well as Panchkula administration are no different. Both have failed to keep a check on the out break of infections, including cholera, resulting in deaths despite tall claims of agencies concerned of taking appropriate steps in this regard.

A look on the history of such cases revealed that with five cholera cases reported in Chandigarh, the authorities woke up to the situation and entire works force was deployed to clean the slums with fumigation operation. The leakage in water supply points was plugged and the drainage system was revamped with assurances of regular practice. However, it was found that the assurances were mere eyewash when a Tribune team visited some of the slums of the two adjoining cities today.

In colony No 4, heaps of garbage was strewn as usual and the people, including children, could be seen bathing and procuring drinking water from the water supply pipes near a stagnating water pond. The pond had emerged due to the accumulation of water running from the pipes left after the taps were stolen.

Though the residents here were aware that such a situation could lead to outbreak of infections but they said they were helpless as no body bothered to solve their problems.

There was an outbreak of water-borne diseases in these colonies last year and there were chances of a similar outbreak this year if timely action was not taken, said Naresh, who works in a nearby industry.

A drain near the water taps was covered when the road here was repaired. The authorities later forgot to notice that a water pond had come into existence in the area due to accumulation of water, which could make things worse, he said.

In colony No 5, the things were no different. While the water was being wasted through pipes as they did not have any taps fitted on them, heaps of garbage welcomed the visitors with a stench.

In the neighboring town of Panchkula, things were in a more sorry state even after four deaths were reported due to cholera last year. And before that in 2008 this number was as high as seven.

The health authorities here, for the past three years has always been caught on the wrong foot and wakes up only after a few of the residents lose their lives to cholera. And this year seems to be no exception for them.

The most sensitive areas of Rajiv colony, Indira colony, Budhanpur and Azad colony were in the same shape before they were spotted, prior to the cholera outbreak in the town in the past three years. The water supply lines were assigned through the nullah that could contaminate drinking water. It is another matter that the residents here were able to breath in comfort for a while after the government machinery became active and cleaned the area after the deaths were reported.

Pigs and children can be seen wading through the muddy water of the nullah going along the Rajiv colony while junk dealers have again set up their shops adding to the woes of the residents.

Panchkula district health officer Jagamal Singh when contacted said that he was out of station and could not talk on the issue. Civil Surgeon Dr Kamla Singh however, did not pick up her phone despite repeated efforts.

In colony No 4, heaps of garbage were strewn as usual and the people, including children, could be seen bathing and procuring drinking water from the water supply pipes near a stagnating water pond. The pond had emerged due to the accumulation of water running from the pipes left after the taps were stolen

In Panchkula, things are in a more sorry state even after four deaths were reported due to cholera last year. The health authorities here, for the past three years has always been caught on the wrong foot and wakes up only after a few of the residents lose their lives to cholera. And this year seems to be no exception for them



Golden Jubilee Festivities
Gujarat team winds up Punjab visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The Gujarat government has invited Gujaratis from across the world to converge on Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the formation of Gujarat.

A delegation led by Rajya Sabha MP and national vice-president of the BJP Purushottam Rupala and state minister Kiritsinh Rana winded up its visit to Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh with a news conference here.

Rupala said this was a unique experiment linking the celebrations with progress. “It is not just festivities; it is an ‘andolan’ (movement). The people of Gujarat have committed to contribute to the celebrations,” he said.

Addressing a gathering of Chandigarh Gujarati Samaj at Tagore Theatre, Rupala had exhorted the Gujaratis to bring their neighbours along. He said the visitors would be accorded traditional hospitality under ‘Vibrant Gujarat’, a scheme where guests are assigned to the volunteer families where they can feel the flavour of Gujarati lifestyle.

Under Vibrant Gujarat - 2011, the 5th Global Summit will be held on January 12 and 13 where multinational corporations, entrepreneurs, Indian corporate, diplomats and academicians will participate.

Minister Parbatbhai Patel, deputy chief whip in the Gujarat Assembly Ambalal Rohit, Knubhai Bhalala, Jashumatiben Korat, Jitendrabai Sukhadiya, Vandanaben Makwna (all MLAs), Ahmedabad District Panchayat president Satishbhai Tundiya, Valsad District Panchayat president Prakash Patel and Development Commissioner Sujeet Gulat were also present.

The Gujarati-speaking areas of the erstwhile Bombay were carved out into a separate state of Gujarat on May 1, 1960. The year-long golden jubilee festivities will begin on April 30. 



Reduction in entitlement of kerosene for ration cardholders
Residents of Colony No 4 take to roads

Chandigarh, April 12
Resentment prevailed among residents of Colony No 4 with regard to the UT administration’s decision to reduce the entitlement of kerosene oil for ration cardholders from 15 litres to 10 litres.

About 150 residents took to the city roads this morning. The protesters led by P Shukla, president of the Chandigarh Majdoor Sudhar Panchayat, and a member of ward level committee 20 of the municipal corporation, assembled outside their residences with empty containers and stoves. SDM (east) Abhishek Dev reached the spot and tried to pacify the agitators.

The protesting group asked the SDM that how was it possible to cook 35 kg pulses, rice and flour given by the UT administration at subsidised rates with just 10 litres of kerosene oil in hand.

Residents said the Centre’s decision to reduce the allocation of kerosene reflected adversely on the UT administration, which had, allegedly, not been able to voice the concerns of colony residents, especially those living in temporary colonies.

Residents handed over a memorandum to the SDM demanding the restoration of entitlement of kerosene oil within a fortnight.

SDM Abhishek Dev assured the protesters that he would take up the matter with the Deputy Commissioner. When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh said, “The Centre has ordered a one-third cut in the allocation of kerosene oil. However, the letter that we received from the Government of India states that this cut is only applicable for the month of April. We are expecting that by next month the allocation of kerosene oil will be restored.” — TNS



Molestation Case
PGI doctor resigns 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Dr Vikas, senior resident of PGI’s Anaesthesia Department, who was accused of molesting a patient’s wife earlier this month, today, tendered his resignation.

Vikas’s move is fallout of his indictment by the Fact Finding Committee of the Anesthesia Department. After the report by the two-member committee was submitted, Vikas was given the option to either quit or face termination.

The allegations of molestation levelled against Vikas by wife of Devi Prakash, a patient from Sirsa in Haryana, who was admitted in main ICU ward, on March 30. In a written compliant to hospital authorities, she has accused Vikas of molesting her in the ICU on the pretext of prescribing medicines for her husband.

A senior resident doctor, on condition of anonymity, said Vikas was accused of misbehaving with some women patients on two earlier occasions, following which departmental inquiries were initiated against him. However, for want of conclusive proof, he was let off with “warnings”.

What nailed him this time was a police like “test identification” (TI) parade in which the complainant recognised him from among a group of six doctors. The statements of certain other patients and attendants who were in the ICU when the incident occurred also helped the Fact-Finding Committee comprising two doctors of the Anaesthesia Department in establishing Vikas’ guilt.

Sources said when the complainant raised an alarm to protest against Vikas’ advances, attendants of some other patients immediately reached the spot. Realising that he was in a tight spot, Vikas, started pleading to compel the woman against making a complaint. These witnesses have reportedly also testified before the Fact-Finding Committee. 



Now, contractors to purchase raw material for projects
Aarti Kapur/TNS

Chandigarh, April 12
To avoid delay in completion of major projects, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, in a shift from earlier policy, has decided that in future, steel and cement for construction works, will be purchased by the contractors to whom the work is allotted from certified companies of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL). The decision was taken at the Road Committee Meeting, which was held under the chairmanship of Resham Chand Jakhu today.

Members raised the query at the meeting that a number of major projects of the corporation were lying pending as steel and cement was not being supplied to the contractor on time.

Referring to the delay in the construction of community centers, the members pointed out that the work of some centres was yet to commence whose foundation stone was laid last year. They said that even the routine works were also not complete on time, as contractors did not get the building material on time.

The committee keeping in view these facts recommended that from now onwards, in all ongoing projects and future projects, the contractor allotted works would purchase the building material as per requirement. It has also been decided that in order to keep a check on the quality of material, a quality control cell will be constituted in the corporation. The cell will randomly keep checking the building material and progress of the projects. Sources in the corporation said work of three community centres had been stalled due to non-availability of steel with the corporation. No new community centres work has been started, due to non-availability of cement with the corporation.

Sources said that since the corporation had been constituted, the authorities were following a set pattern for supplying bricks, cement and steel to the contractors. The sources said the authorities purchased the raw material from the Public Works Department (PWD) and supplied it to the concerned contractor.

UT ex-Chief Engineer, Puranjeet Singh said it was practice all over the world that contractors purchase raw material on their own and the government only kept a check on its quality. 



CTU bus fares set to go up from today
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The city’s commuters will have to shell out more for travelling in local buses with the proposed increase in Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) fares likely to come into effect from Tuesday. According to home secretary Ram Niwas, the UT administrator has approved the hike and its notification is expected on Tuesday.

A committee set up by the administrator to look into CTU’s income and expenditure and give suggestions to improve its functioning had recommended a fare of Rs 5 for a journey up to 5 km in ordinary buses. Up till now one could travel in a bus to any part of the city by paying only Rs 5.

The panel, however, suggested doubling the bus fare for a distance of over 5 km. Commuters would have now to pay Rs 10 for this journey after the notification.

For those who prefer a little more comfort in AC buses the fares will be Rs 10 up to 5 km and Rs 15 beyond that. CTU is providing the service against a uniform charge of Rs 10 in these buses.

However, in line with the committee’s recommendations, there will be no change in CTU charges for monthly student and employee passes, which cost Rs 60 and Rs 110, respectively. The sharp rise in fares was proposed to reduce the big gap between revenues and expenditure of the undertaking. CTU has been incurring a loss of over Rs 22 crore every year to keep its fleet moving.



Poor Internal Assessment
Students submit memo to VC
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Expressing their resentment on the issue of poor internal assessment awarded to them, students of department of English and cultural studies, Panjab University, today appealed to the Vice-Chancellor to intervene in the matter.

A memo was submitted to the VC and Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) president Amit Bhatia claiming that the students were undergoing stress due to this reason.

The issue of a stark difference between the internal assessment marked in the colleges and university has been raised in the PU Senate meeting on several occasions in the past, but no concrete solution could be found till date.

With the final examinations of these students round the corner, the students are dreading a poor result because of the low internal assessment. “The average percentage in the internal assessment of our class barely touches 50 per cent,” said a MA-II student on the condition of anonymity.

Department chairperson, Prof Rana Nayyar, however, pointed out that the newly introduced semester system coupled with less number of working days in the last semester were primary reasons for the current internal assessment and the strictness of the teachers.

The student council president said he had been getting repeated calls from the students in this regard. “The MA-I and MA-II students have been poorly rated in the internal assessment and several students have to re-appear in the exams because of less marks scored in the internal exams,” said PUCSC president Amit Bhatia.

In what could cast a doubt on the modus operandi of granting the internal assessment in various other departments of the university as well, 47 students out of 135 in the first semester of MA (English) could not qualify in three out of four papers.

Ironically, these students in MA-I have been selected through an entrance examination and have beaten several others to acquire a seat in the coveted English department. “We have competed with hundreds of students to get admission in the university but we are at a loss now. Last year, I had 74 per cent marks in the internal exams, but this year I secured just 51 per cent. Some students are really depressed because of the scores. We are not even eligible to appear in the UGC-NET exam now since the eligibility is 55 per cent in masters degree,” said another student.

Dismissing the claims of the students, Prof Nayyar said, “Last year the students got more marks because the faculty collectively decided to give an extra five per cent marks to encourage them. But this actually promoted an unhealthy competition among them and they started comparing their scores with each other. This year the marks are a reflection of their actual merit.”



Anonymous complaint
Admn marks inquiry against principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
In a blatant violation of a Central Vigilance Commission directive, the UT administration today not only took a cognisance of an anonymous complaint filed against a local government school principal, but even marked an inquiry against her.

The complaint, which has allegedly been addressed by the staff, students and their parents, was forwarded to the DPI (S) who has been asked to inquire into the matter.

According to the anonymous complaint, the principal is alleged to have embezzled funds worth lakhs of rupees during a trip organised to Amritsar and buying tiles for the school.

The complaint claims that the principal is undergoing psychological treatment and is medically unfit to head a school. Allegations have also been levelled against her general behaviour with the students and staff members.

While DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia could not be contacted for his comments, a senior official of UT education department said, “Though the complaint was anonymous, the allegations levelled were serious. It is our duty to look into the matter. We are not prosecuting her, but just verifying the claims. It is quite understandable that the complainant probably is closely associated with the school and is thus seeking anonymity.”

The complaint accuses the principal for not improving the quality of education but the language leaves one questioning the quality of the teaching staff.

Mind Your Language 

The following is a sample of the language used in the anonymous letter:
l “School is getting Downward” (sic) 
l “When they have routine Girls problem they are forced to do many tedious work of cleaning the school.” (sic)
l “The lecturer has to faced harsh behavior from Principal.” (sic)
“She also applies many allegations of English lecturer that she is supplying the girls from the school to higher officials of UT.” (sic)



PU rivalry turns ugly
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
If the track record of student parties of Panjab University is any indication, nearly all presidential candidates belonging to two prominent parties - the Student Organisation Panjab University (SOPU) and Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) have either indulged in major acts of violence or have been framed by the rival party.

Today’s incident of setting the cars ablaze at the residence of PUSU’s presidential candidate for 2010 elections, Udey Singh Wirring, is not the first time that the rivalry between PUSU and SOPU has turned ugly.

Rather, a look at the major incidents of violence on the campus in the last five years reveals that student politics on the campus is no longer restricted to mud slinging. Instead, these violent attacks on the party candidates have now become a recurrent phenomenon.

From using complex weapons to even staging fake attacks to frame their rivals, these repeated disturbing incidents not only exhaust the police but also deviates the attention of the university authorities from academic activities. 
More often than not, the two warring student bodies ultimately reach a mutual settlement, say police sources.

“It is unfortunate that the old tussle between the PUSU and SOPU has now turned so violent. Until a few years ago, the campus politics was limited to differences and crisis. But now it has turned into fatal accidents. Indulging in such acts has become common to gain the media mileage. Personal issues and rivalries are being made the party issues,” said GK Chatrath, dean law faculty, PU. “Rivalry has become bitter in the last 10 years,” he added.

Fact sheet

Major brawls in last five years

l 2006: Amandeep Singh (PUSU), also the then student council president, allegedly fired at his own Honda city car to gain sympathy.

l 2006: A case was registered against party president Abhishek Puri (PUSU) for attacking Tejpal Cheema (SOPU) even though the former was not known to be present at the spot.

l 2007: Just before the student elections on the campus, PUSU activists, including then president Rupinderjit Mann, allegedly stabbed Harjeevan of DAV College near the Law Auditorium.

l 2007: SOPU activists, including then president Dalveer Singh Goldy, attacked then PUSU president Abhishek Puri in the boys’ hostel No 6, while two others sustained head injuries.

l 2008: A few Indian National Students’ Organisation (INSO) activists, including then president Vikas Rathee, pelted stones at the Vice-Chancellor’s house.

l 2008: A few SOPU activists, including then president Harpreet Multani, stabbed Simrandeep Sandhu, a PUSU member, during an examination.

l 2008: A few Haryana Students’ Association (HSA) activists, including Narender Gujjar, attacked Brinder Dhillon outside the Vice-Chancellor’s house. Dhillon sustained head injuries.

l 2009: Firing in the University Institute of Engineering Technology (UIET) canteen, Simranjit Singh Dhillon (PUSU) got an FIR registered against Brinder Dhillon, who was not even present at the spot.



Nitin seeks permission to take exams
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
Nitin Jindal, who is expected to return to the city on Wednesday, has appealed to the Panjab University Vice-Chancellor today to permit him to appear in the examinations starting on April 16.

Jindal, who was under trial in Boston on charges of sexual assault, has now been pronounced innocent by the American judiciary.

Nitin’s brother, Ankush submitted the request letter on his behalf in the VC office, in which he pleaded that Nitin should now be allowed to appear in the exams.

“The judiciary has set him free and there is no reason why he should be barred from the examinations,” said Ankush.

Meanwhile, the committee constituted by the university to investigate in the Boston case met on the university campus today.

“We are still investigating the matter and we require substantial proof to take any concrete action. We cannot go by speculations and media reports,” said IS Chadha, university Senate member.



School bus drivers challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 12
The traffic police today booked 149 school bus drivers during a special drive to check traffic rules violations committed by them.

DSP (Traffic) Vijay Kumar said a drive was launched today to check traffic violations by school bus drivers. None of the buses checked by the police were found to be indulging in overspeeding or overloading. However, drivers and the conductors of 149 buses were not wearing proper uniform while on duty.

The police also issued challans to 14 autorickshaw drivers for overloading and plying the vehicles without fare meters.

Explain bus fee hike: STA

Taking note of complaints filed by some parents against the sudden hike in bus fee, Vandana Disodia, director, State Transport Authority, has asked bus operators to justify their charges.

“I got complaints that since the operators had been asked to charge bus fee only for 11 months, many of them hiked the fee by almost 40 per cent. I have asked them to submit the fee details in this session and justify it according to the distance travelled,” she said.



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