C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


3 of family die in car-truck collision
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
Tragedy struck a family residing in Sector 15 when four relatives including a teenager were killed early this morning when their vehicle collided with a truck while returning from Hardwar. Five other people, including three more family members and a driver, were injured in the accident that took place near Barwala at about 3 am.

Two teenaged boys, both belonging to the hapless families, had a miraculous escape. One had opted out of the trip and the other disembarked from the crashed vehicle only hours before the accident took place.

The Panchkula resident, RM Biswas, his wife Sapna and daughter Anjushree accompanying their deceased relatives were among the injured. Another relative of the family, Kannan also from Kolkata, was stated to be in a serious condition.

The deceased, who were on their first-ever visit to this part of the country, have been identified as Sapna’s brother Amol Mandal, 45, his wife Anjana, 40 and daughter Arupa, 17, and Sushanto Biswas, a brother-in-law of RM Biswas.

While RM Biswas and his daughter were discharged after being administered first aid, his wife Sapna was admitted with multiple fractures to the General Hospital in Sector 6. Kannan, wife of deceased Sushanto and driver Sonu, both of whom are in a serious condition, have been admitted to PGI in Chandigarh.

Biswas said the deceased belonged to Krishnanagar of Nadia district in West Bengal. Amol was a high school teacher while his daughter Arupa was a Class 11 student and was intending to do an MA in geography. However, their only son, Amortho, 19, who is busy with his exams, decided to stay back. Kannan, sister of RM Biswas, and her husband Sushanto had also come from Kolkata.

Narrating details about his deceased relatives, RM Biswas said after visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar they had gone to Haridwar on April 11 to take a dip on the last day of the ‘kumbh mela’. He said on their return from Haridwar his son Rimmoy, who is a student of IIT Roorkee, alighted from the car in Roorkee. However after learning about the tragedy he returned to the city immediately.

All of them left Haridwar at about 11pm in a Toyota Qualis vehicle. Their vehicle collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction at Bagwali on the Barwala-Shahzadpur road. While Amol, Anjana, and Arupa were declared brought dead at the hospital, Sushanto Biswas succumbed to his injuries at PGI in the evening.



PU set to be centrally funded
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The PU is all set to become a centrally funded university, although members of the visiting constituted five-member union government Special Task Force today expressed helplessness in conferring the status of a central university.

The Task Force has indicated that the PU could possibly either become an institute of national importance or get national heritage status.

Central funding assistance from the union government will mean that up to 92 per cent of the university’s financial needs (nearly Rs 175 crore) would be provided by New Delhi with the national annual budget reflecting a separate allocation for the PU.

This means that the existing 60:40 funding ratio between the union government and the Punjab government, respectively, is likely to become a 90:10 ratio. Despite the removal of an earlier cap of Rs 32 crore allotted to the PU, the Punjab government continues to contribute a fixed Rs 16 crore to the university, which works out to be significantly less than its obligation of providing 40 per cent share.

Making pension dues a part of the university’s annual budget and maintaining the pattern of central financial assistance for different programmes and projects were also discussed.

The team met members of the Syndicate, representatives of the student council, department representatives, principals of colleges and employee associations.

Dr AN Bakshi, Chief Controller (Accounts) in the MHRD, said the PU might well be considered as an institute of national importance or an institute of national heritage on the basis of which it could claim the maximum central financial assistance.



Stretching patients to the limit
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Scene 1 (PGI’s New OPD; 10 am): Kamla Rani, a 40-year-old resident, leans heavily on a makeshift crutch. She walks some steps and takes a long pause. With a rod implanted in her leg, she struggles her way to the New OPD for a checkup. An attendant, apparently a friend, keeps pace with her.

Scene 2 (Emergency; 10.30 am): BD Sharma an octogenarian who has come from Garhwal and is suffering from Hepatitis A (jaundice), sits on the pavement outside the ward. Unable to walk, the frail and pale looking man waits in the sweltering heat for his relative to take him inside.

Scene 3 (PGI’s New OPD; 11 am): A car halts and a middle-aged man steps out and pulls out a wheelchair from the boot. He assists an octogenarian into it and then pushes the wheelchair into the ward.

These three incidents, which are often witnessed in the PGI daily, are an example of the problems that patients face due to the shortage of wheelchairs and trolleys. While some patients make their own arrangements, scores of patients are forced to cope with the shortage.

The daily turnout of patients is close to 5,500, but the hospital only has 70 wheelchairs and 280 trolleys, of which 200 are used as beds in the emergency ward.

While the hospital’s norms suggest that every ward should have two trolleys and a wheelchair for the convenience of patients, the exiting figures doen’t match. Instead of the required 66 trolleys at a Nehru Hospital ward, there are only 30 and an equal number is allotted to the 30-odd OPDs.

Information received through RTI reveals that the PGI purchased only 56 wheelchairs in the last five financial years and 87 were received through donations. If one takes only these into account, against the total of 143 wheelchairs the hospital has only 70 and there is no account of the remaining. While the PGI is to be blamed for its failure to devise a method to ensure the safety of public property, some patients and their attendants allegedly take away trolleys and wheelchairs with them. “Sometimes, these are found lying at places away from the main building, near the PGI gurdwara, serai and the workshop area,” PGI spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar, stated.

While officials admit to the scarcity of trolleys and wheelchairs, little is being done in this direction. Some officials say that due to the paucity of space, increasing the number of trolleys may not be feasible as they end up congesting the already overcrowded corridors.



Students protest axing of 130 trees
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

MC workers chop down trees in Sector 15-A, Chandigarh, on Thursday.
MC workers chop down trees in Sector 15-A, Chandigarh, on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 15
Students of the PU today marched out of the campus to battle the scheduled cutting down of trees in Sector 15, which incidentally had been requested by residents themselves.

Instructions to remove nearly 130 trees in Sector 15 were issued by the MC, following a visit at the site by the UT Adviser a few days ago. The step has been taken in order to widen roads and prevent accidents caused by certain rotten trees, Anu Chathrath, Mayor, said.

The decision, however, did not go down well with dozens of visibly upset students who gathered to protest against the administration and the MC.

Expressing their resentment, the students, who were from various departments of the university, were seen calling friends to garner support.

It was a virtual ideological war between the students and

senior citizens when MC workers starting chopping down the trees. “We requested the authorities to cut the trees and widen the roads so that we have ample space for parking,” Jaswant Singh, a resident, said.

But another resident, who did not want to be named, had another story to tell.

“Just because many residents in this lane have more than three cars, they want the trees chopped for more parking.”

The students, however, said the water table in the city was already on the decline and the residents were asking the authorities to cut the trees. “Have they (senior citizens) thought what have they left for the younger generation? If you are cutting 130 trees, are you planting the same number in this sector?” Hermani Dutta, a student, asked.

The Mayor said the “competent authority” had inspected the site and recommended the MC to widen the roads.

“If there is any accident, the residents will blame us for not cutting the old trees. We are also planting more sapling which compensates for these felled trees,” she said.

Notwithstanding the opposition, the felling continued until evening.


Violence at PU
Committee reveals decrease in cases

Chandigarh, April 15
The high-powered committee constituted by the Panjab University Vice-Chancellor to formulate a strategy to deal with students indulging in violence today said the data collected of violence by the students in the last few years revealed that incidents of violence on the campus had decreased in the last one year.

The standing committee with GK Chathrath as its chairman and more than two-dozen members decided that each case of violence should be dealt individually, as all cases could not be generalised.

“We aim at drafting the long-term rules for such students and we are still gathering data on such students, who have a criminal history. The defaulters will be awarded punishment by the university,” said Chathrath.

The committee also added that they would review the cases of violence on the campus and it would not intervene in such incidents taking place off the campus. — TNS



Power woes haunt city residents
Sector 17, southern sectors feel the heat
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Power cuts have started tormenting residents of the City Beautiful. The use of the electrical appliances such coolers, air-conditions and fans following the prevailing heat wave conditions has started taking its toll on the power supply to various parts of the city.

While unscheduled cuts have started upsetting the daily routine, the main commercial centre of the city - Sector 17 - faced unscheduled power shutdown for around three hours this afternoon, adversely affecting the business. However, what irked the traders and the shoppers the most was the fact that the electricity department failed to give a satisfactory answer to their repeated queries.

“While the Chandigarh administration is thinking big on exploiting the tourism potential of the major shopping centre, the basic necessity like uninterrupted power supply remains a far cry bringing the administration’s ambitious plans under cloud,” LC Arora, a Sector 17-based trader, alleged.

Not only the heart of the city, consumers of several southern sectors, including Sector 48, were also at the receiving end. “With mercury hovering around 40 degree Celsius in mid-April, power cuts makes our lives miserable,” Santokh Singh, a Sector 48 resident, complained.

It’s not for the first time that Sector 17 and southern sectors are facing unannounced power cuts. The outdated power distribution network and unprecedented increase in the power demand seems to have spelled doom for residents, particularly during the summer.

With no source of power generation, it is a Herculean task for the administration to meet the round-the-clock power demand of the VIP areas in the summer months, official sources said.

As against an assured supply of 184 mega watts (MWs), the administration was able to manage a supply of 265 MWs last year, while the demand reportedly crossed 300 MW.

Since Chandigarh has the highest per capita consumption of 1,168 units, it is not surprisingly that various areas of the city face power cuts. Power tripping is more common in the high-density areas from Sector 31 onwards where a large number or ACs have been installed without corresponding increase in the sanctioned load, an official said.

Meanwhile, if the situation goes from bad to worse, the UT administration would impose rotational power cuts. The rotational power cuts are always better than the unscheduled power cuts because the former give residents time to plan their schedules, officials said. 



Ruchika Molestation Case
Hearing adjourned for today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Additional District and Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh today adjourned the hearing on former Haryana Director general of Police SPS Rathore's plea to Friday.It is for the first time that Gurbir Singh is hearing the case in the wake of the transfer of judges in the district courts.

Abha Rathore, counsel and wife of SPS Rathore, read the evidence leading to the earlier trial. Proceedings continued till the evening with a break of an hour. Unlike last time when Rathore stepped out of the court premises during the lunch break, he preferred to stay in the court.

Appearing amid tight security following an earlier violent attack on him, Rathore reached the court around 9:45 am. He was accompanied by a few Haryana policemen provided to him as security.

The Additional District and Sessions Judge heard the arguments for over six hours during which the entire media was directed to remain outside the courtroom on the request of Rathore’s counsel.

Abha begin her arguments with an appeal that Rathore be allowed to stand next to her for assistance. The judge agreed but said that Rathore could not argue the case.

The in-camera proceedings continued inside the courtroom for the entire day. Only those connected with the case were allowed entry.

CBI counsel CS Sharma told the media that today’s hearing comprised arguments from Rathore and that they (the CBI) would reply when its turn comes.



41º C and rising
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Don’t expect any relief from the sweltering summer heat in the coming days. According to Met department, the mercury is set to rise by at least two degrees Celsius from the maximum temperature of 41º C recorded today - -the highest till now in the city. However, the minimum temperature today was a little lower at 20.4º as compared to 22.1º yesterday.

"The temperature is likely to remain above normal during the next few days. The city has seen exceedingly hot days this month - one on April 11 at 38.8º C and the other on Wednesday at 39.2º. Heat wave conditions are expected once the temperature crosses 43º,” the weatherman said. The maximum temperature recorded in the city yesterday was above 39º C, the highest for April in the last decade.

The way temperatures have been hovering near the 40º mark over the past few days it is no wonder that vendors of ice cream and cold drinks are reported to be doing brisk business. According to Met officials, residents can expect no respite in the coming days. The mercury has been constantly on the rise since the beginning of this month and there is likely to go up further in the coming days. Regional Met director Chattar Singh said deficient rains during the last over three months in northern region leading to flow of dry and hot westerly wind were responsible for prevailing conditions.

The weatherman has forecast a mainly clear sky with the temperature touching a maximum of 41º C and minimum of 22º during the next 24 hours. 



Convict’s Escape
Police still clueless

Chandigarh, April 15
The Chandigarh Police is clueless about the whereabouts of Paramjit Singh, a convict in a narcotics smuggling case, who allegedly gave police the slip from the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital here on Wednesday morning. He was admitted to the hospital on March 18 after he started a hunger strike in the jail against the court verdict.

A police official said a team was sent to the Jalandhar address of the convict, but he was not there. The police team was told that Paramjit had rented out the house and no one of his family lived there.A local court had convicted Paramjit Singh and sentenced him to 10-year rigorous imprisonment on March 13 after he was found guilty in a NDPS Act case.

Police sources said it was around 6:30 am on Wednesday when Paramjit gave cops the slip on the pretext of going to the toilet. When he did not come for a log time, cops on duty started searching for him, but in vain. He was admitted to the general ward on the sixth floor of the hospital.

The cops reported the matter to the line officer of the Chandigarh Police, who in turn informed senior authorities and a case under Sections 223 (escape from confinement or custody negligently suffered by public servant) and 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) of the IPC had been registered at the Sector 34 police station against the accused.

Taking strong view of the lapses and negligence on the part of the cops deployed on the guard duty, the Chandigarh Police later placed under suspension head constable Gurdev Singh and four constables - Vir Singh, Bhoop Singh, Karamjit and Albert Masih, besides initiating a departmental inquiry against them.

A police officer said that during the preliminary investigations, the cops were not maintaining their roster. They extend their duty hours in a bid to accommodate their colleagues. Yesterday also, Bhoop Singh was officially on duty but Vir Singh worked in place of him since 8 pm. He dozed off in the morning, resulting in the escape of the convict. 



Census operations begin in city
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The census operations in the city began here this morning with the enumeration of the Advisor to the UT Administrator, Pradeep Mehra.Keeping in view that the Union Territory has a large number of working couples, census officials started their day as early as 7.30 am.

Although it was the first day of the census operations, officials got warm response the city residents. “Wherever we knocked at the door, we got warm reception,” said a census official.

Apart from officials from the census department, around 600 schoolteachers have also been deputed for the job. Census supervisor Manjit Kaur, who was deputed at Sector 39, said people had been very cooperative and supportive. “We have asking people to furnish accurate and information since it holds the key to future policy planning,’ she said.

While the advanced trends will be known in the due course, census officials said that they found residents of the city to be well aware about the census operations. “Otherwise it is difficult to knock at peoples doors and inquire about various details from them,” said A Parshad, a census official.

However, Ashish Batra, a retired professor of Economics from Panjab University, warned that mistakes could creep in despite the best efforts of the census staff.

“Uneducated people in villages never know their age correctly. It is never a 51, it’s always 50 or 55,” he said.

SP Wahi, another retired professor, said the new population registry would provide a valuable database.

“For instance, in case of a natural disaster, one will be able to know how many people were living at a place before the catastrophe. It will be a compilation of useful information enabling proper governance," he said.

However, some of the teachers deputed for census duty had some grievances that they were being asked to report for their regular duty in schools after performing their census duty. One of the teachers said they found it very difficult to move around, knock at people’s doors and then report back for their teaching assignments.

Bindhyeshwari Negi, Director-cum-Principal Census Commissioner of Chandigarh, said she would take up the issue with the Deputy Commissioner and the DPI (Schools) so that the teachers on census duty were not asked to report for their teaching assignments. 

Government school teachers protest
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Government school teachers protest in Sector 19, Chandigarh, on Thursday.
Government school teachers protest in Sector 19, Chandigarh, on Thursday.

Chandigarh, April 15
Government school teachers protested against the Census Department on the first day of the Census operations launched in the city today. The teachers are opposing the department’s instructions asking them to carry on with the normal teaching routine in addition to the census work.

As percent directions, teachers on census duty have been asked to conduct census work before 8 am daily, then attend to their school work and then resume census duty after schools hours. Directions to this effect were issued almost a week back which had led to considerable resentment amongst teachers, especially among women teachers.

They tried to take up the matter with both the Census and the Education Department but were asked to follow orders.



CT scan centre fined
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, officials have imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Mukul CT Scan Centre, which is being run at the hospital on the public private partnership pattern, for stocking expired drugs and other irregularities while conducting scan diagnoses. The centre has also been issued a warning to immediately cease and desist from any repetition of the malpractice.

Confirming the development, GMCH director principal Dr Raj Bahadur stated the action against the CT scan centre was initiated following a complaint from the head of the radio diagnosis department, Dr Suman Kochar. He said the latter had discovered the expired drugs while conducting practical classes for BSc (medical technology x-rays) students at the centre.

“Kochar also found vials of ‘contrast’, a dye to highlight a patient’s specific areas to be scanned. These vials are supposed to be opened just before being administered to the patients”, Bahadur said.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Ram Singh, officiating medical superintendent at GMCH, said one of the contrast vials that were lying open had a needle submerged in it. The expired drugs that were seized included adrenaline, furosemide and bexamethazone.

Besides the fine, the centre has been issued a stern warning to desist from such irregularities or else face termination of the arrangement with the hospital. Significantly, these drugs are virtually life saving medicines in the event of adverse side effects caused by administering ‘contrast’ to patients undergoing a CT scan.

Meanwhile, doctors said even the discovery of the open vials was a very serious matter as its contamination could cause serious problems, including life threatening allergic reactions. “Expired drugs and contaminated contrast is nothing but a recipe for a disaster in the making,” said a doctor, underlining the seriousness of the matter.



Cement Scam
Contractor fined Rs 13 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The MC has imposed a fine of Rs 13.84 lakh and cancelled the contract of Sarvpriya Building Products and AK Sood Engineers who were allegedly involved in the recent cement scam in which the vigilance department had seized 200 cement bags that were being pilfered from a construction site in Sector 17 here.

A senior MC official said the contract of the companies had been cancelled and penalty imposed. The decision was taken by MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria.

Earlier, the municipal corporation had issued a notice to a contractor in which it asked the company to withdraw from all projects as the civic body had blacklisted it for five years.



Cooperative Group Housing Society
‘Resume process of flats’ transfer on GPA’ 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The Chandigarh Social Welfare Council has again urged the Chandigarh administration to restart the process of transfer of cooperative group housing society flats on general power of attorney (GPA) as per the March 2, 2009, notification.

In a representation to the Adviser to the UT Administrator, the council submitted that the administration notified a policy to transfer flats. In cases where the managing committees failed to perform duties and acted in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the members, such committees were removed by the Joint Registrar, Cooperative Socities and an administrator was appointed to carry out operations of the society. The Indian Express society was one such society where an administrator was appointed. The committee filed a petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and sought staying the sale purchase and transfer of share in the names of other persons or to extend area of operation of the society.

The order said: “In the meantime, the administrator will not take any policy decision which inter alia includes the transfer of membership in favour of other person or to extend the area of operation of the society.”

While “misinterpretating” the word “administrator” as the “UT Administrator” the administration put the March 2, 2009, order on hold till further orders.

Urging the Adviser to seek a legal opinion on the matter, the council demanded that the cooperative department should be directed to resume transfer of share/flat held on GPA.

Another feature where the GPA holders are an aggrieved lot is refusal of the estate officer to issue NOC for sale of property under their signatures. Earlier, the estate office used to issue such NOCs for sale through the GPA holders. This is causing hardships to GPA holders and a large number of cases seeking NOC for sale of property have been asked to apply through the allottees, the council said.



Kulwant elected Mohali MC chief
Our Correspondent

Celebrating the election of Kulwant Singh as president of the municipal council, chairman of the District Planning Board NK Sharma flashes a victory sign in Mohali on Thursday.
Celebrating the election of Kulwant Singh as president of the municipal council, chairman of the District Planning Board NK Sharma flashes a victory sign in Mohali on Thursday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, April 15
Kulwant Singh, former president of the Mohali municipal council, was elected president of the civic body here today even as Congress MLA from Kharar Balbir Singh Sidhu, who is an ex-officio member of the council, boycotted the poll along with councillors of his group, terming the election process unconstitutional.

The name of Kulwant Singh was proposed by Sukhminder Singh Barnala and seconded by Gurmukh Singh Sohal.

All 20 councillors who attended the meeting, including those owing allegiance to the Congress, voted in favour of Kulwant Singh.

Amrik Singh was elected senior-vice-president, while Harpal Singh Chana was chosen vice-president of the civic body.

At least 18 councillors came to the Municipal Bhawan in a luxury bus reportedly from a destination in Himachal Pradesh where they had gone on a “forced holiday” soon after Rajinder Singh Rana was removed from the post of president. The two remaining councillors came on their own.

The area outside the office building was barricaded by the police. SP (city) SS Gill and DSP Swarndeep Singh along with other officials were also present at the venue.

SAD MLA from Morinda Ujagar Singh Badali and District Planning Board chairman NK Sharma also reached the council office before the election process began.

The power to choose the candidate for the post of president of the civic body rested with Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

According to reports, he had suggested the name of Kulwant Singh, which was not objected to by any councillor who attended the meeting.

A written note, mentioning the name of Kulwant Singh, sent on behalf of the Deputy Chief Minister was received before the holding of the election.

It is reported that Hira Singh Gabria, minister for tourism and jails, and NK Sharma had met councillors yesterday to know if anybody had any objection to the candidature of Kulwant Singh.



From real estate to politics
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 15
Today’s coronation as president of the Mohali municipal council has come at a “heavy price” for Kulwant Singh. Initially tagged a supporter of the Congress, it took the successful real estate developer almost three years to win the “confidence” of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

In the political tug of war ignited by his opponents, the political turncoat did manage to play to the tune of his master’s voice (read the Akali leadership) with the help of his businessman friend NK Sharma, chairman of the District Planning Board and a confidant of ‘Junior Badal’.

Sharma also happens to be a member of the Punjab Colonisers and Builders Association, whose president is Kulwant Singh.

It is an open secret that Kulwant Singh enjoyed a good rapport with the powers-to-be in the previous Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government and was among the pioneers in introducing the concept of mega projects in Punjab. But now, the Mohali MC president enjoys Akali Dal patronage.

Taking the coronation in his stride, the new president said luck had played a big role. For the last 12 years, Kulwant Singh has been an off-and-on president of the Mohali MC.

He had earlier worked as acting president of the council in 1998 for about two months when the then chief of the civic body, Harinder Pal Singh Billa, had gone abroad. He remained senior vice-president for three terms during 1995-2000. Later when elections were held in 2001, Kulwant Singh remained president for the entire five-year term having the support of 19 councillors out of 27.

Interestingly, he lost by 52 votes to a newcomer, Gurnam Bindra Singh, when elections were held in July, 2006.

Kulwant then filed a plea against the election result in the district tribunal when Tejveer Singh was the deputy commissioner.

The case remained involved in controversies for about three years after which an additional deputy commissioner, Mohali, ordered the recount of votes in October last year. Kulwant Singh was then declared elected.

Again it took him five months to unseat Rajinder Singh Rana, a Congress supported councillor.



Money played a role in securing seat: Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 15
Money played a major role in facilitating the election of Kulwant Singh as president of the municipal council, alleged Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, a charge denied by the newly elected head of the civic body.

Addressing a press conference here today, the MLA, said according to the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution, the government could not remove a president of any civic body.

However, Congress-backed Rajinder Singh Rana was removed by the government on April 9 from his post in violation of the rules.

He said SAD leaders had been trying over the past over three years to unseat Rana but their efforts had failed.

Now a planned strategy was allegedly worked out to remove Rana, paving the way for Kulwant Singh.

The councillors could have removed him by passing a no-confidence motion instead of using government power to dislodge him.

He said as a mark of protest, he along with his group of councillors had boycotted the election because bribe was allegedly paid to grab the post.

It is strange that Kulwant Singh was made president by the SAD when other councillors who had shown loyalty to the party all these years were ignored.

Sidhu said it was surprising that Badal who had strongly opposed the commercial and residential project of Kulwant Singh in 2006 had suddenly changed his stand and come out to offer the post of president on a platter to Kulwant Singh.

He alleged that Kulwant, who had lost the election to Gurnam Bindra Singh, had allegedly used government influence to get the decision in his favour.

Bindra had challenged the decision of additional deputy commissioner of declaring Kulwant Singh as municipal councillor. The next date of hearing in the case is April 30.

Kulwant, however, denied that money had played any role in getting him the post of president. He said he was elected by councillors who wanted development in Mohali, something the former ruling team had failed to provide.

He said Sidhu had allegedly bribed councillors in 2006 when Rana was to be made the president of the civic body. He had taken a number of councillors away from the town and allegedly kept them in hiding for around 15 days, he claimed.



Dharna by PSEB staff
Tribune News Service

Customers at a bill payment centre even as PSEB staff went on strike in Mohali on Thursday
Customers at a bill payment centre even as PSEB staff went on strike in Mohali on Thursday. A Tribune photo

Zirakpur, April 15
Employees of the PSEB went on a two-day strike from Wednesday midnight to oppose the unbundling of the board. The TSU and Employees Federation (AITUC) supported them. The employees staged a dharna outside the PSEB office in Industrial Area, Phase 1, here. However, there was no power cut in some parts of Zirakpur.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, Prabhjot Singh Mand, said adequate security arrangements had been made to avoid any untoward incident. The additional superintending engineer, Mohali, said there was no disruption of power in the division. However, the striking employees claimed that complaints in the rural areas were not redressed.

Bassi Pathana: The local staff of the PSEB held gate rallies and dharnas at sub-division offices against the government decision to unbundle the board.

All cash counters and technical offices remained closed. Interestingly, there was no power cut as usual all through the day. Addressing rallies, Bachitar Singh, Ashok Kumar and Mohinder Pal, all conveners of the employees federation, lashed out at the government over privatisation.

They said if the government continued with its plan, they would be forced to go on an indefinite strike. They urged the government to reconsider its decision or face the consequences.



Ban on weapons at marriage palaces
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 15
The Mohali administration has imposed a ban on carrying firearms at banquet halls and marriage palaces in the district during marriage and other functions. The ban has been imposed with an intention to maintain the law and order situation in the area during the functions.

Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand, Mohali, promulgated the orders under Section 144 of the CrPC today. He had asked owners of the banquet and marriage palaces to not allow anyone to carry a weapon during the marriage functions and should inform the police if they found anyone with the weapons. 



PGI’s nod to promote employees

Chandigarh, April 15
The PGI administration has finally given a nod to the long pending promotion of nine employees.

The employees include- Mahinder Grover (ENT), Sahib Singh of Internal Medicine department, Tarsem Lal (cytology), Tajinder Singh (dermatology), Anil Kumar (neurology), Kanchan (gastroenterology) and ML Malik and Hakam Singh (medical superintendent office).



Tributes paid to Dr Ambedkar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
“The nation will remain grateful to Bharat Ratna Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar for all that he has done for the amelioration of the downtrodden and weaker sections of society,” said Anu Chatrath, Mayor, Chandigarh municipal corporation, after paying tributes to Dr Ambedkar on his 119th birth anniversary at Ambedkar Bhawan in Sector 37 here yesterday. She was the chief guest on the occasion.

The Mayor said: “He had learned constitutions of many countries by heart and could quote articles, sub-clauses and provisions at will.”

The speakers called for effective measures at various levels for the emancipation of the weaker sections and motivating children belonging to depressed classes towards higher education.



Citizens’ Voice N-Choe
Treatment plants should be made fully functional

Chandigarh Tribune conducted a series of exposes on N-Choe from April 6 to 9. These can be viewed on 




Students miffed as PU postpones MA exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Second year students of Masters of Arts (defence studies), Panjab University today had a harrowing time outside their examination centre in the south campus of the PU at Sector 25.

As many as 18 MA (II) students first reached their examination centre in Sector 25, University Institute of Engineering and Technology building (exam centre 43), where the staff informed that the paper had not reached the centre.

While the students say that the authorities were not even aware that they had an exam today, the officials, however, say that the information of postponement had been given earlier.

“We all rushed to the office of controller of examinations where we were told that the exam would now be scheduled on a date that suits us and could not be held today,” said a student requesting anonymity.

After a long wait at the examination centre, the students found that the examination supervisor and other staff members were not even present and had no clue about the paper, so they rushed to the administrative block and met the controller of examinations. The controller, however, said the exam was postponed due to a clash with other exams and students were informed.



Obscenity charge against St John’s teacher
School dubs UT inquiry malicious
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 15
Kavita Das, principal of St John’s High School, Chandigarh, today appeared before the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), with the school dubbing as “malicious and predetermined” Chandigarh administration’s recent inquiry against its arts teacher Michel Angelo Francis holding him guilty of teaching vulgarity and cyber crime to students.

The inquiry followed a complaint against the teacher by TK Goyal, a PCS officer and his wife Meera Goyal, whose wards study at the school. The school, however, in November moved the NCMEI against the UT’s orders, alleging that the administration was interfering in its affairs, undermining its “minority status” under the NCMEI Act and Article 30 of the Constitution, which allowed minority institutions to self administer.

The case came up for hearing on February 2, with Goyal seeking action against Francis on grounds that the UT administration had found him guilty on the alleged counts. Goyal cited Supreme Court’s judgement saying a minority institution’s right to self administer did not amount to its right to mal-administer, with the Commission chairperson Justice MSA Siddiqui directing the school principal to be present for the hearing.

Filing a rejoinder to Goyal’s allegations today, counsel for St John’s Alka Sareen argued that the counts of “vulgarity and cyber crime” of which the UT administration held the teacher guilty were never part of the original complaint made by Goyal to the administration.

“The UT administration found Francis guilty of teaching vulgarity and cyber crime to students and the principal guilty of abetting the encouragement of skills of cyber crime even when the said allegations were never even made. The administration proceeded against the principal and the teacher, in a preconceived way, determined to hold them guilty,” stated the rejoinder, adding that Goyal kept absenting himself from the independent inquiry ordered by the school into the allegations against Francis and refused to share the evidence against the teacher.

A recent inquiry by former Chief Justice of Allahbad High Court Justice SS Sodhi cleared Francis of all charges, concluding that Goyal’s complaint smacked of “malicious intent with a streak of vindictiveness”. Consequent upon the order, Francis, who was under suspension earlier, was recalled for work on March 29.

St John’s today also said Goyal moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the school management committee’s decision to get an independent probe conducted by Justice Sodhi.

The HC, however, directed Goyal to join the inquiry. “When he got a chance to cross examine Francis, he asked him no questions,” she argued.

Meanwhile, the school’s counsel objected to Goyal being represented in the case by senior advocate Anupam Gupta, former standing counsel of UT, saying it was inappropriate for a former UT counsel to be involved in the case.

Siddiqui, however, did not record this objection. He allowed Goyal to reply to St John’s rejoinder by June 9.



Reservation for poor students
Admn proposes, pvt school disposes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The UT administration’s claim that private schools had agreed to reserve 15 per cent of their seats for students hailing from economically weaker section has been contested by a private school body which has expressed reservation to the move.

UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar said at a meeting, held with school directors, that private school authorities had agreed to the reservation proposal as a part of the Union government’s recent initiative of Right to Education.

“They have raised some issues which we will deal with. We are also trying to formulate a 90-day action plan, wherein the reservation will be introduced on a pilot basis from this year,” said Kumar.

Kumar asserted that the UT administration and schools were trying to arrive at a consensus over the issue and a plan of action would be formulated soon.

However, Independent School Association president HS Mamik said: “The UT administration is yet to fulfill their reservation criteria in government schools. The UT education department has adopted a hypocritical attitude. Government schools use public funds so they should take the responsibility. Govt Model School, Sector 16, has three per cent of EWS students. What is the UT administration doing?” he questioned.



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