C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kharar-City Road
‘Killer stretch’ claims woman’s life
Tribune News Service

Kharar, April 16
Widening of the “killer stretch” on the Kharar-Chandigarh road today claimed the life of a woman from Nawanshahr, who died leaving behind a premature baby girl.

Manjit Kaur (22) from Karimpur Colony in Nawanshahr had delivered a premature baby this morning. Her husband Balbir Singh told the police that she suddenly collapsed and delivered at the Civil Hospital in the seventh month of pregnancy.

After the operation, her condition deteriorated and she was referred to the PGI. She was on the way to the PGI along with her baby, husband and mother-in-law, when the ambulance collided head-on with a car near Sunny Enclave at Desu Majra, where work on the construction of a divider was under way.

In a bid to rush the patient to the PGI, the driver of the ambulance steered on to the wrong side and rammed into a speeding car coming from the opposite direction.

Manjit could not bear the impact of the collision and fell off the stretcher. She died on the spot. One of the busiest roads connecting Chandigarh with Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Ropar, this stretch has witnessed fatal deaths.

The narrow road is being four laned by the central works division, Ropar. When public utilities like telephone and power cables and sewers have to be shifted, the traffic is navigated by cops. Even at the entry point where the accident took place, a traffic cop is stationed permanently to ease the bottleneck, especially during peak hours. However, today, while work on the national highway continued, no traffic cop could be seen on the stretch, except those near the bus stand. Residents said had the traffic cops been positioned there, it would have averted the tragedy.

The driver of the car, Surinder Batala from Sector 38 West, sustained injuries. The highway remained jammed for almost an hour after the accident. The DSP Kharar, Raj Balwinder Singh, said the police was busy in connection with the unbundling of the PSEB and hence staff could not be spared for traffic management. He said no case had been registered as the victim’s family refused to pursue the matter.



Punjab’s grant to PU up
To give Rs 21 crore
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
In a major fillip to the PU, the Punjab government has decided to raise its share of grants by 20 per cent to the university. The state government’s fixed share stands revised from Rs 16 crore to Rs 21 crore for the current financial year. Significantly, the state government is likely to increase its contribution by a further 15 to 20 per cent effective next year.

The proposed increase of 20 per cent by the Punjab government, which was originally projected in the government’s annual budget this year, will be applicable to all educational institutes. However, until now it had remained uncertain whether this was applicable to the university which at present gets 60 per cent contribution from the Central government.

“From now on, the PU would get Rs 21 crore. The grant would be increased further by another 15 to 20 per cent next year. We will also introduce a corpus fund for all universities in Punjab. This will be provided as a one-time lump sum with the aim to eventually making them self sufficient,” Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal said.

Observers say that the Punjab government’s decision could be a fallout of the union government’s Special Task Force’s ongoing visit to the PU during which it has learnt to have expressed optimism to raise the union government’s budgetary contribution from the existing 60 per cent to 92 per cent.

On the second day of the visit of the task force today, it became more evident that the earlier 60:40 funding ratio between the union government and the Punjab government will now be raised to 92:8 ratio, thereby making the university centrally funded if not a central university, sources said.

Despite insistence from various quarters of the PU to the Punjab government, the issue of granting central status to the PU could not materialise. Due to a “political hitch”, as the Punjab government is apparently not willing to give up its stake in the university and 179 affiliated colleges in Chandigarh and Punjab, there was no development in the matter. But with the union government generously releasing funds to the PU, the stand of Punjab seems to have softened.

The VC, Prof RC Sobti, said: “There will be no change in the pattern of any decision making body or any administrative set-up related to the PU or affiliated colleges. The change in the ratio of funding would be the only change.”


n Punjab government to raise its contribution from Rs 16 crore to Rs 21 crore
n A further 15-20 per cent increase by the Punjab government is anticipated in 2011
n A 92:8 ratio of funding from the union and Punjab governments likely
n No change in administrative set-up of PU and 179 affiliated colleges
n Senate and Syndicate to remain intact



Rs 72 lakh on bus shelter!
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
What can Rs 72 lakh buy for residents of the city? Here are some choices: Two double bedroom CHB flats in Sector 63 with some money left over for a luxury car; clean drinking water for about a lakh-and-a-half people living in slums; or food for a lakh-and-a-half people for two-and-a-half months. The MC, however, feels that such money is best spent on constructing a solitary steel bus shelter at Mani Majra’s “stamp-sized” bus station.

The cost of this bus shelter far exceeds that of the 200-odd existing bus shelters in the city. Chandigarh has two types of bus shelters -- those made with brick that cost approximately Rs 50,000 each and those made of stainless steel that cost between Rs 2-4 lakh each.

The proposal for constructing the bus shelter, which was passed at a MC house meeting on March 29, does not offer anything spectacular. Like the other shelters, this too will be built with steel and will have benches with granite topping. The only major difference is that it will be larger than most shelters and will have a fibreglass roof.

But MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria appears impressed with the proposal. “It is going to be a big, better, best bus queue shelter”, he said. But when asked what “extra” feature it would have, he said: “It will be made of special material. It will have glazing and fibreglass sheets. When engineers brought this proposal, I told them to use the best material for it,” he added.

The MC’s agenda for its house meeting held on February 19, when the bus shelter proposal was first tabled, reveals that other than being larger, this shelter did not offer anything significant.

When pressed, Sunkaria said he could not recall the specifics that would make it special. “Why don’t you talk to the XENs and ask them about the details?” he asked.

So how do such proposals get passed in a MC house of a UT that has the country’s third highest literacy rate? Is it with a debate?

“The ruling party is in majority. Nobody gets heard in the house,” says former Mayor Harjinder Kaur. When Pallav Mukherjee, a nominated councillor, sought to raise objections, he was assured that MC officials would provide him with a satisfactory reply, only after which they would proceed with the proposal.

Mukherjee says that still has not happened. “I have not received any reply to my emails sent to the MC Commissioner in this regard. Despite nominated councillors objecting to it, the item stands approved. Why can’t this money be utilised wisely?” he asked.



Pupils pray evaluators for grace
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
“Paper aise check karna jaise apne bache ka ho” (check my paper as if it is your own child’s) ... “Main dusri baar paper de raha hun aur agar fail ho gaya to meri shaadi nahi hogi. Muj par reham khhao. Bhagwan tumhe khush rakhe” (I am appearing in this exam for the second time and if I fail I won’t get married. Please help me. God will bless you).”

This is an array of answers that city evaluators get in response to a question that ranges from physics derivations, chemistry equations and even literary critique. Scores of students appearing for various examinations in schools seem to be resorting to such appeals to compensate for their apparent lack of preparation or even sheer nervousness to clear the exams.

The trend is not only confined to internal examination exams, but also the board exams where students’ creativity seems to be at its best with most of them coming out with couplets like “Table gandi hai, saaf kar dena, beti samajh kar, maaf kar dena”.

“Many times we get answer sheets where each question is replied with an innovative appeal. The emotional touch and the creativity leaves us awestruck at times, wondering if the student has spent the entire three hours working on it. I once marked an answer sheet where the child threatened to commit suicide. It haunted me,” a CBSE exam evaluator stated.

Going by claims of CBSE officials, it is not just appeals but even abuses, which are hurled at the evaluator for “ruining” the lives of hundreds of students.

Some students even attach currency notes with answer sheets. According to a teacher of a Sector 26 school who has been evaluating the board’s papers for the past 15 years, the bribe increases with every passing year.

“There was a time when we would even find a Rs 10 note in an answer sheet, but now the slab has risen to Rs 500. We buy tea and snacks for all evaluators with the money,” she said.

But do these appeals and bribes help? While teachers come up with a flat refusal, there are students for whom it has worked wonders. “It depends on your ability. Make the evaluator take pity on you and the work is done,” says Snayukt Khanna who passed out of Class XII from a government school last year.



Cricket dreams come true for have-nots
UT starts cricket academy in DAV College, ropes in Mongia
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Youngsters with humble background and little resources will soon be able to hone their cricketing skills, thanks to the Chandigarh education department initiative of starting a cricket academy, especially for poor students of government schools at DAV College, Sector 10.

The department has roped in former Indian all-rounder Dinesh Mongia for the purpose.

Over 75 budding cricketers are being put through their paces during trials, which began yesterday, by Mongia at the college ground here.

With a big dream in their eyes, most aspirants are drawn from slum and colonies. For them, meeting with an international cricketer is no less than a dream. And, getting training from him (Mongia) is a big achievement.

“We have dreams but no resources to convert those into reality. Our hopes have been rekindled by the initiative of the government,” says Rajesh Kumar and his friends, who came to participate in the trials.

The selected cricketers will not have to spend even a penny, as the entire expenditure on paraphernalia, infrastructure and training will be borne by the local administration and children.

Mongia, too, is excited to train these children. “Budding cricketers will be picked up for the academy during the three-day trials,” quips Mongia, adding that around 60 cricketers will be selected in the first batch.

Fitness and mental toughness along with cricketing skills are the main traits that Mongia is looking for.

Expressing happiness over the performance of youngsters during the trials, Mongia says he is amazed to see the talent some guys have.

“They have no resources, no facilities yet many of them are bowling and batting with conviction,” adds Mongia.

“I am sure we will be able to get some nice players. Maybe some of them will get a chance to play for the country one day,” says Mongia.



T20 World Cup
P’kula cheerleaders for Windies bash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Undoubtedly, dance is a passion for them but they did not have any inkling even in their wildest dreams that one day it would enable them to fly high in their lives.

Local girls, eight-year-old Mishika Bedi and Fizaa Chaudhary, aged nine years, have all reasons to be thrilled as they have been chosen to fly with the ‘Men in Blue’ squad for forthcoming T20 World Cup at West Indies, starting April 30. The girls have been selected on the basis of their brilliant dance skills, which they showcased to the selectors through their videos.

Only 15 children have been selected across the country through a talent hunt programme by LG Company and Mishika and Fizaa, both from Panchkula, got their selection from the entire northern region. The company had invited the videos of the kids, showing their respective talent last month.

At the glittering inauguration function in West Indies, the selected children will present on the field along the Indian cricket team to sing National Anthem.

Talking to TNS, the elated girls said that the first thing they do, would get the autographs of all the players.

“My favourite cricketer is none other than Sachin Tendulkar but I am a bit sad that he is not going with us”, said Mishika. After Sachin comes Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh), whom I admire a lot, added Mishika.

Fizaa echoed her friend, saying that procuring the autographs of all the players is high on their agenda.

The next thing in the minds of these girls is shopping. “I will purchase clothes and fashion accessories like ear-rings, bracelets, and other special items from West Indies”, said Fizaa excitedly.

Mishika and Fizaa, the students of Sacred Heart School and Carmel Convent School, both in Sector 26 here, respectively, learn their dancing skills in Lotus Dancing School, being run by Rahul Sharma at Panchkula.

Both the girls would be accompanied by their fathers during their foreign tour.


Punjab Police Act may not suit UT
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Though done with good intentions, the extension of the Punjab Police Act to Chandigarh by the Central Government may prove to be a damp squib.

The very organisational structure of the Chandigarh Police may prove to a dampener in the implementation of the Act in Chandigarh. When the Act has failed to serve its purpose in Punjab, its utility in Chandigarh is questionable, sources said.

The setting up of the Police Establishment Committee under the Act will have a limited role to play in the city. With a limited 114 square km area and 11 police stations, the committee will not have much to do regarding the posting of officials at the level of the DSP and below, sources added.

A proposal to send the DSPs on deputation to other union territories has been hanging fire for the past several years. A majority of the SHOs already enjoy tenure of about two years. In any case, the SHOs are a pampered lot as they are shuffled within 11 police stations and cannot be posted outside the city.

Though the establishment of the Security Commission for the UT formed an integral part of the Act, yet the officials and the general public do not know the pro-people provisions. In fact, the commission’s functioning may overlap with the jurisdiction of the powerful bureaucracy in the city.

“The existing provisions are enough for the city and extension of this Act does not make much sense. What the Chandigarh administration should do is to improve the basic policing and rest of the things will automatically fall in place,” social activist Satish Sharma said.

Official sources, however, claimed that the Act had been extended in a bid to infuse accountability and transparency in the working of the local police. Though there are certain limitations in the implementation of the Act in the backdrop of the basic structure of the police, yet efforts would be made to improve the functioning of the police, a senior official added.



At 41.6º C, city records season’s hottest day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
The mercury today soared to a scorching 41.6 degrees Celsius - six degrees above normal - in the city as against the maximum temperature of 41º C recorded yesterday, making it the hottest day of the season so far. The minimum temperature was 23º, four degrees above normal.

According to a Met official, this was the warmest April 16 since 1987. “The temperature is rising because of the westerly winds and it will continue to do so till there is a heavy duststorm in the city”, the official said.

Meanwhile, city residents have begun complaining about the unduly hot weather. People were seen wearing caps, sunglasses, using umbrellas or covering themselves with a stole to beat the sweltering heat. Outside houses and buildings they could be seen looking for shade to escape the scorching sun. Roadside shacks did a brisk business selling cane juice and cold drinks.

It is not just the heat that residents have to bear. Frequent - both scheduled and unannounced - power cuts have also added to their woes.

“If we have this kind of hot weather in April, one dreads to think what will happen in May and June,” said Sumit Kochhar, a marketing executive.

While young children and the aged tried to avoid the searing heat by remaining indoors, those who have to work outside, including policemen and daily labourers, had to bear the brunt of the blazing sun.

With the rising heat and humidity there has been a corresponding rise in cases of diarrhea and gastric disorders. “On an average five to 10 cases of diarrhea are being reported in the city every day,” said Rajesh Malik at Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32. The number could be higher since several patients were visiting private hospitals and clinics.

The met department has forecast a partly cloudy sky with possibility of duststorm/thundershowers towards evening/night tomorrow. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be about 41º and 23º C, respectively, during the next 24 hours.



6 shanties gutted in Colony No. 5
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Six shanties were gutted after a fire broke out in Colony No. 5 here today.

The incident occurred around 12.30 pm when a majority of the families were out for work. Official said they had received the information about the fire at 12.26 pm and dispatched the fire tenders from the Sector 32 fire station immediately.

Electric short-circuit is stated to be the reason behind fire. It took around an hour for five fire tenders to douse the flames.

According to an eyewitness, Mohamad Usman, soon after he spotted the fire, he called up the fire brigade. A number of residents used sewage water to control the fire.



Slum dwellers sit on powder keg
Aatri Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Slum dwellers of Colony No 5 are sitting on power keg as ‘kundi’ connections over the jhuggis continue unabated, leaving ample scope for another disaster. Even today’s fire reportedly broke out due to spark in electricity wires. During a random survey conducted by The Tribune team in the area, it was found that there was rampant use of ‘kundi’ connections. It was also found that majority of the ‘jhuggis’ (almost 80 per cent) have television and other modern electrical appliances.

The dwelling units here store combustible material, including hay and wood.

Records available with the fire department about the fire mishaps in Colony No. 5 reveal that mostly during summer, fire incidents occur due to short-circuits. As per the records, last year a major fire broke out in this colony in March last.



PSEB employees’ stir
Residents face hardship in paying bill
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 16
In the last two days, since the electricity employees union went on strike, depositing electricity bills became a harrowing experience for the hundreds of consumers across the city. The extra barricading done by the police at electricity substations only added to the woes of the consumers.

A number of consumers complained today that PSEB officials were ill prepared to handle the rush of consumers coming to deposit their bills. Ravinder Kaur, a Phase VII resident, said since the electricity bill collection centre in Phase I was found closed, she had to come to the collection centre in Industrial Area, Phase I, to deposit her bill. Extra barricading done by the police only dissuaded consumers from reaching the collection centre.

Harpal Singh, another consumer, found that the automated bill collection centre in Sector 68 was not accepting cash and was only accepting cheques. No official was present there to explain the reason.

At the collection centre in Industrial Area, Phase I, there was a proper notice guiding the visitors to the precise counter. A soiled paper hanging from a wall, indicating the bill connection schedule and areas, failed to catch attention of the visitors. Those attending the counters said against the scheduled closing time of 3 pm, the centre was being closed at 1 pm since the last two days.

As if the woes inflicted by PSEB officials were not enough, the post offices across the city had refused to accept the electricity bills since April 1. The post offices were being given commission for accepting the bills.



Councillors’ trip cancelled again, courtesy admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
The UT bureaucracy has again allegedly played its part in cancelling the visit of two Municipal Commission councillors to Srinagar for a five-day training programme beginning April 15.

According to sources, Pardeep Chhabra and Bhupinder Badheri, former Mayor and Senior Deputy Mayor, respectively, were nominated by Mayor Anu Chatrath to attend a training programme being organised by the All-India Institute of Self-Government, Mumbai, on March 19. However, the file was allegedly delayed by the office of the Commissioner and sent to the Home-Secretary-cum-Secretary Local Government on March 30. Interestingly, March 25 was the last date of registration for the meet.

Subsequently, the file was “misplaced”. Ultimately, the MC prepared a duplicate file which was cleared by the Adviser to the UT Administrator on April 13 evening.

The MC councillors were asked to spend money from their pocket which was to be reimbursed later. However, the organisers, who were contacted to confirm participation, expressed their inability to accommodate the delegates at the eleventh hour.



Are hotels charging arbitrarily in name of service tax?
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
The next time you eat out with your family, spare two minutes looking at the total bill. Chances are that the bill will include a service charge - anything between 5 to 10 per cent of the total bill besides the government approved 12. 5 per cent VAT (Value Added Tax). Restaurants levying this service charge claim that this goes into the common account for the “tip” of all staff members, including those in the kitchen to the front office.

In the absence of clear cut guidelines, whims and fancies of certain managements of restaurants and hotels rules the roost when it comes to charging service charges to their customers.

A service charge is what the restaurant or eatery can charge for providing special services, which include making certain arrangements for a get together or a party. However some eateries in the city are charging arbitrary amount in the name of service charges.

When asked, the manager of Swagath Restaurant in Sector 26 that charges service charge, said, “ It is a policy decision that is taken by our head office. It is a common fund, which is given at the end of the month to all staff members as tip money”.

Similarly, Yo China, in Sector 9 and Sector 26 also levies this service charge at the rate of 5 per cent of the total bill. Parveen Singhal, manager said, “ It is a decision taken by the management in Gurgaon. But we also mention this on every page of the menu card. This service charge works out as a tip. After this, the customers don’t have to pay the tip”. He had no answer when asked if they return this amount if some customer still pays a tip. However, there are also restaurants like Copper Chimney in Sector 26, Sagar Ratna in Sector 17 and even CITCO’s eateries in city that do not charge the same.

When contacted, Hotel and restaurants Association president Arvinder Singh said, “ We are thinking of levying this across the eateries in Sector 35 as most of the restaurants in Sector 26 are doing so. But there is some case pending to this, so we have put this as of now on hold. We will anyways follow what the all-India Association of Hotels and restaurants will decide on this”.

Manjeet Brar, Additional Excise And Taxation Commissioner of the UT administration said, “ Our department deals with the VAT tax as applicable on food items in UT but the service charges doesn’t fall under our department. However, if there is anything that needs to be done in this direction, we can do the same”.

In fact, Advocate Ajay Jagga, president, Chandigarh unit of Janta party, took up the issue, at a press conference organised today. He said that a similar matter had cropped up way back in 2006 and the customer had gone to the Ministry Of Consumer Affairs in Delhi. He said that if this arbitrary charging were not stopped they would be forced to knock the doors of the ministry again.



Acquisition for Airport City
GMADA to spend Rs 1,157 crore
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 16
In what is being billed as one of the biggest acquisitions in Chandigarh periphery, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today set the ball rolling to spend a whopping Rs 1,157 crore on acquisition of around 800 acre for a new Airport City, planned to the South of Mohali city.

Last time, GMADA had spent around Rs 450 crore, including 50 per cent share contributed by Haryana, to acquire 300 acres for international airport at Cheoheri village here.

This time the land being acquired for the urban estate is spread over seven villages — Bakarpur, Kishanpura, Matran, Chachu Majra, Naraingarh, Chatt and Manauli villages.

This is also the first time that land-pooling scheme is being offered to the landowners.

The compensation of Rs 1.50 crore includes the solatium and non-litigation charges. Besides, GMADA would also offer an interest amount of Rs 2.23 lakh an acre for the delay in notifying Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act.



Amrik acting chief of Mohali MC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 16
Amrik Singh has taken over as acting president of the Mohali Municipal Council. The seat was lying vacant since April 9 after Rajinder Singh Rana was removed from the post by the principal secretary, department of local government, Punjab, on a charge of misuse of power.

Amrik Singh will work as the president of the civic body till the election of Kulwant Singh for the post is notified.

Amrik Singh was first elected as municipal councillor in 1996 from Phase XI. He had won all three elections of the council held so far. He had also been elected vice-president of the civic body during the previous term.

Executive officer of the council Amna Kumar Goyal said a copy of the notification in connection with the election of the president had reached the council office. Kulwant Singh would likely take over the charge of president on Monday.



Budget of GMADA approved
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 16
The state government today approved a proposal for upgradation and widening of roads in Mohali. In a meeting chaired the Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, the budget estimates of GMADA for the year 2010-11 was also approved.

The budget estimates of the GMADA provided for an expenditure of Rs 339.92 crore on carrying out various development works in the greater Mohali area. The expenditure on land acquisition would be Rs 1,495.63 crore. Besides Rs 25 crore have been proposed for the payment of enhanced compensation during the said financial year.

In view of the convenience of the residents and visitors of Mohali, it had been decided to install city maps, sector maps and multi-directional boards all-round the township at a cost of Rs 67 lakh. A sewerage system at Kurali has also been approved.

Roads being widened

The roads being taken up for upgradation were from the junction of Sectors 85/86, 98/99 dividing Sectors 98/105, 97/106 and 106/107 up to the Kharar-Banur road and the road dividing Sectors 58/54, 58/59, 73/72, 74/75, 90/91 and 93/94. The upgradation of roads in Mohali also include widening of the road in Sectors 71/72, 69/60 (PCL chowk to cremation ground, near Balongi) and the road from the junction of Sectors 65/65A, 66/66A to 66-66A/81 connecting the Chatt road.



Stolen bath fittings worth Rs 2.5 lakh recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
The Chandigarh Police on Friday claimed to have recovered luxury bath fittings worth over Rs 2.5 lakh, a motorcycle, and other articles from three Bihar youths, who were arrested on April 12.

The prime suspect in the case, Manoj Kumar, told the police that he committed the theft to arrange for money to get his brother, who is lodged in Patiala Jail in connection with a theft case, released by furnishing a bail bond.

DSP (South) Jaswant Singh Khira said that acting on a tip-off, a special team apprehended two junk dealers, identified as Rajesh of Mohali village and Muzbal Khan of Palsora, while carrying bagful of bath fittings in a mini truck they had hired at a check point on the road separating Sectors 36 and 42.

Both the accused told the police that they had bought the bath fitting from Manoj Kumar, a resident of Mohali. They were produced before a local court the next day which remanded them in police custody till April 16.

During interrogation, the accused disclosed that the bath fittings were stolen from a private company in Phase VII, Industrial Area, Mohali, on March 28 night.



Thieves strike at gurdwara
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Thieves struck at the Sector 19 Gurdwara last night and decamped with Rs 50,000 after breaking open the cash box.

The SHO of the Sector 19 police station said the police received a complaint this morning when the theft was detected by the gurdwara management. The spot examination revealed that the thieves broke open the main gate and then entered the room after breaking open a window. They broke the cash box, which was approximately containing Rs 50,000.

The police said the forensic experts were called for spot examination, but they could not find any clues.



Encroachments removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today removed encroachments from the Sector 22 Shastri Market.

A total of 40 defaulters were issued challans following a joint drive of by the enforcement and the fire departments of the MC. The anti-encroachment drive was undertaken under the supervision of PK Sharma, Additional Commissioner, who was assisted by an enforcement inspector along with a fire officer and the supporting staff.



No relaxation in duty for teachers, says education department
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
In what comes across as a jolt to hundreds of government teachers employed in the national census, the UT Education Department has refused to give them any relaxation in school duty hours, demanded by them as an aid to carry out the designated census operations.

The teachers have for long been protesting against the Census Department’s instructions asking them to carry on with the normal teaching routine in addition to the census work. They had demanded that they should be given a relaxation of about two hours from the school to carry out the work and even staged a dharna in front of the Census Department, Sector 19, against it.

Following this, the census officials took up the issue of relaxation in duty hours with the Education Department but it refused to allow any.

“These teachers were protesting in front of our office for about two hours from the normal school duty. We talked to the DPI (S) but it was communicated to us that no such relaxation could be given to the teachers,” said PS Shergill, District Census officer.

The move is surprising in wake of the fact that initially the Education Department had evaded the teachers on the pretext of not being involved in the census process but now when the ball was in their court they failed to help the teachers.

“Earlier when we asked them to help us they washed their hands off saying that they had no power in the census operations. Now when they could have helped us out they are not ready to support their own teachers,” said one of the protesting teachers.

‘Giving in will spell trouble for us’

While DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia did not respond to several calls made to him, a senior official of the Education Department clarified, “This relaxation will raise trouble for us. How will the schools be managed for initial two hours in the morning with the skeletal staff? Moreover, these teachers will stretch the relaxation to three hours themselves on pretext of census operations. They are being paid for the dual work and moreover there are officials of our department who will be in office from 9am to 5pm and will still do census work.”



Law Entrance Exam
Don’t be taken in by fake assurances, PU tells students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
Panjab University authorities today cautioned students against fake assurances given by coaching institutes, who guarantee admission in its law entrance exam. The university today released photocopies of advertisements of coaching institutes, which frequently appear in newspapers and that assure admission in its PU’s law course.

Advertisements of a Sector 15-based coaching institute read- ‘ Last year, 94 questions out of 100 in PU law entrance from our notes’. Another one read-‘Free coaching! Rs 8,000 will be charged if student get top 200 rank in PU law entrance test, no fee before written test result’, while there was another which claimed that it had a success rate of 90 per cent in PU law entrance exam.

In an investigation it was revealed that an institute at Sector 24, which provides coaching for judicial competitive examination, told its prospect students that they had known professors of the university in its panel and as guest faculties. Certain other institutes were found guaranteeing classes by PU faculty members and luring students on these grounds.



First Public Appearance After Acquittal
Nitin demands release of roll number
Seeks retraction of suspension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 16
In his first public appearance today after acquittal, Nitin Jindal, the final year law student of University of Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Panjab University, demanded immediate release of his roll number and retraction of an earlier suspension order passed by authorities at a press conference held at the Student Centre, here.

Denying all charges levelled against him in the past, Jindal said, “I have been a victim of the media trial. I am deeply hurt that the university has not supported me, instead it has debarred me from appearing for the exams under pressure of student and teacher organisations and even media.”

Adding that he has no interest in student politics, Jindal said, “I have had a clean record and I just wish to pass my exams and begin my career. My reputation and that of my family has been tarnished. I am also in touch with my attorney, Stevan Goldwyn, and will file a defamation case against the girl and against those students leaders who tried to defame me.”

Following Jindal’s arrest on the charges of “indecent assault and molestation” on February 13 this year and a subsequent trial by the Boston Municipal Court Massachusetts, the Board of Studies of UILS, had recommended his suspension till charges acquittal. After reports in the media about his trial, the university authorities had ordered a probe in his case and had locked his hostel room.

“I am innocent and I have been discharged of all allegations by the Boston Municipal Court, Massachusetts. The court has mentioned in its judgment that the case is not even worth prosecution and even morally apologised,” said Jindal showing a copy of the judgment to mediapersons. Meanwhile, the university officials were tight lipped on the issue today although there were indications of a favorable decision for Jindal.

On being contacted, Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti said the committee constituted would decide the matter shortly.

What really happened

Narrating the sequence of events on February 13, Jindal said, “When I went to my friend’s room (name withheld) at 9am to accompany him to the conference, I saw a girl coming out of the room, which was vacant. A few hours later, the police arrived at the Park Plaza Hotel, where the conference was taking place and the same hotel where we had been residing. The girl, who was in an inebriated state, was asked to identify the person who attempted rape on her, and she pointed at me.”



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