C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Three young lives snuffed out
Fourth mishap victim battles for life at PGI
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 18
Three students in their early twenties were killed in an accident involving a Maruti Zen and a Tata Sumo at the Chawla Nursing Home traffic junction separating Phases III-B-2 and VII in the wee hours here today.

The ill-fated Zen, on colliding with the Sumo, somersaulted twice in the air before crashing into a billboard near the traffic junction. The car roof pierced the bodies after crashing into the billboard.

Two of the victims were from Sangrur and one from Karnal. One student suffered serious injuries in the mishap. They had been undergoing internship at an institute in Sector 34, Chandigarh.

The victims were identified as Ravi Kumar and Jaswinder Singh, B.Tech students at Bhai Gurdas Engineering College, Sangrur, and Harjit Singh, a student of Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering, Tangori, Banur.

While Ravi and Jaswinder died on the spot, Harjit was declared brought dead at the PGI, Chandigarh. The fourth victim, Sukhdev Singh of Sangrur and a B.Tech student there, was battling for life at PGI at the time of filing of this report.

The investigating officer, sub-inspector Raghbir Singh, said both Harjit and Jaswinder were the only children of their parents.

The station house officer, sub-inspector Atul Sonu, said the car, being driven by Jaswinder, was coming from the Chandigarh side and the other vehicle, being recklessly driven by Sandeep, was coming from Phase VII when the mishap took place.

Rescue workers said they had had to wait for over half an hour for the ambulance, forcing the victims to be shifted to the hospital in PCR vehicles. This raised a question mark over the functioning of the trauma management services of the district administration. Relatives and friends of the victims rushed to the PGI on hearing the news. The autopsy of Harjit was performed at the PGI.

The bodies of the other two were shifted to Civil Hospital, Phase VI, Mohali, for autopsy, much to the consternation of the relatives, after which the bodies were handed over to their families.



3 hurt as tree branch snaps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Taking shelter under a tree to get some relief from the scorching heat cost dear to three persons here today. All of them, who could not be identified, suffered minor injuries when a branch of the tree in Sector 22 suddenly snapped and fell on them.

According to Jaspal Singh Bhullar, in charge of the police post at Sector 22, it was around 2 pm, when three persons who had parked their scooters were standing under a neem tree in front of the HMT showroom near Piccadily Hotel.

Suddenly a branch fell on them. All of them managed to escape with minor injuries. The injured were taken to Sector 16, from where they were discharged after being administered first-aid.

The police with the help of the horticulture department removed the branch.

The UT horticulture department officials said though the tree was old, it was still green and in good health. However, the broken branch might have fallen because it had gone dead. The incident was, however, not first of its kind in recent days in the city.

On the night of January 12, a tree fell on the balcony of a house in Sector 34. Then again on April 5, an apparently fragile branch of a tree in Punjab University suddenly fell. 



Group clash claims life
Two wounded seriously
Tribune News Service


Chandigarh, June 18
Group rivalry claimed the life of a 21-year-old hotel management student and left two of his associates seriously wounded as a band of youths, allegedly armed with swords and baseball bats, attacked them at Sector 24 here last night.

Both groups clashed at Sector 41 last evening before another clash at Sector 24 in the night. The incident occurred around 10:30 pm near a liquor shop, where both the groups clashed in full public view.

The assailants chased the victims and stabbed the student with sharp-edged weapons, besides hitting him on the head with baseball bats.

The police was informed about the incident, which reached the spot and shifted the three victims to the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, where Tajinder Mattu, a resident of Nawanshahr and student of the Institute of Hotel Management Catering and Nutrition at Sector 42, died during treatment around 3 am today.

The other two victims were identified as Mattu’s cousin Salim and their friend Ajit. While Salim was admitted to the GMSH, Ajit was referred to the PGI. Mattu had been staying with his cousin at his residence in Sector 24.

Later today, the police arrested Manu Sharma and his brother Navdeep, residents of Sector 41, in connection with the murder.

The SHO of the Sector 11 police station, inspector Sukhbir Rana, said Salim’s friend Gollu had a heated argument with Manu, who had reportedly used foul words for a girl known to Gollu.

Following this, Gollu had told Manu to mend his ways. Manu, however, refused to budge. Gollu, then, decided to teach him a lesson and told Salim about the incident.

Salim called up Manu on his phone, asking him to come to a park at Sector 41, where he went along with Mattu and Gollu. They reportedly thrashed Manu and fled.

After a while, Manu called his friends to settle scores. He called up Salim on his phone, asking him where they were. Salim told him that they were at Sector 24.

Manu reached there along with his friends, armed with daggers, swords and baseball sticks, and attacked them, the SHO said.

Narrating the incident, Salim’s friend Jai Singh said they assailants, who were more than a dozen in number, surrounded them in the market.

They first attacked Ajit, whose finger was chopped in an attempt to protect his head. Then they attacked Salim, who sustained severe injuries on his face, head and other parts of the body.

The assailants chased Mattu and bludgeoned him. He suffered a deep stab wound on his left side and another on his back. Jai Singh managed to escape unhurt.

The SHO said a case of attempt-to-murder, rioting and criminal intimidation was registered on Salim’s complaint last night.

Charges of murder were subsequently incorporated after Mattu’s death. The other three accused named by Salim were Sham Sunder Dollar of Maloya and Shidi and Kafil of Baterla.

Mattu had come to the city for studies last year. He was to start his internship at Hotel Sunbeam in Sector 22 from today. His father worked as conductor with the CTU.

Ajit and Jai Singh were pursuing graduation while Salim, a mechanical engineering student at the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, was receiving training at Bhushan Industries.

Jai Singh said Tajinder was a brilliant student and had gone to the Sector 15 market to get their scooter repaired when they were attacked on the way.



UT sticks to its stand on land deals
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The reply filed by the UT administration to the questionnaire on the mega projects handed by the inquiry team appointed by the ministry of home affairs is set to spark off another war of words between the administration and its controlling union ministry.

The reply, which was forwarded to inquiry committee member DR Bhalla here, today reiterated the administration’s stand that there were no illegalities in the allotment of land to major real estate firms in the IT Park, including the Prideasia housing project, and other mega projects such as the theme-cum-amusement park and Film City.

The UT administration had all along been defending its land acquisition policies, claiming there was a set formula for fixation of land prices and the lands for the mega projects were acquired “in the national interest”. The projects, it had maintained, would generate employment opportunities for youth and help in thrusting the city into the metro league.

In fact, one of the points highlighted in the administration’s reply was that the price of land allotted to companies in the IT Park here was one of the highest in the country. Similarly, there was an open bid for the other projects, including the Theme Park, Film City and Prideasia, and there could be no question of any irregularities in the land allotment, the UT is understood to have stated in its reply to the questionnaire.

In October last year, senior UT officials including finance secretary Sanjay Kumar had held a press conference to clarify certain audit objections raised by the home ministry. Though the officials were guarded in their criticism of the ministry on the issue of land prices, then UT senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta had blasted the home ministry for its observations against the administration on land acquisition issues.

The administration was later reportedly pulled by the ministry for holding a press conference. Since then, the spat between the UT administration and the home ministry had been continuing on the issue of allotment of land for the mega projects and the IT Park.

The special audit, conducted by a team of officials headed by the ministry’s chief controller of accounts, had found “glaring discrepancies” in the allotment of land to IT firms. The administration on its part tried to come clean on the issue and justified the allotment, picking holes in the audit objections.

In response to the administration’s reply to the MHA audit objections, the ministry has doubted the intentions behind the acquisition of land from UT farmers at low prices and its allotment to private firms at throwaway prices.

It has also rapped the administration for its lack of dialogue with the ministry on the formulation of the national rehabilitation and resettlement policy, saying the administration had chosen to divert attention from relevant issues.

The special MHA audit had criticised the administration severely for acquiring commercial land at low prices and allotting it to private players at prices lower than those prevailing in the market.

In response to the audit objections, the administration had defended the land acquisition policy, claiming the land had been acquired under relevant rules and regulations.



Admn wakes up from slumber to ban ‘back-door entries’
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
In a classic case of “too little, too late”, the UT administration has woken up from its slumber after seven long years to stop “back-door entries” in its departments on account of the current duty charge (CDC), but only to the extent of changing the nomenclature.

Though the UT administration pretends to have finally corked the “back-door entries” in its departments, wings, boards and corporations on account of the CDC, at the same time the department of personnel has added that the administration may consider giving the additional charge of vacant posts to other officials in addition to their substantive charges in exceptional cases where the work is “really suffering”.

Practically speaking, a number of officials holding plum posts in the UT administration with the new order have been let off.

As of now, many senior functionaries, including the Chief Engineer of Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), UT Superintending Engineer, SDOs (sub-divisional officers) in the city’s engineering department, public health and even Municipal Corporation are holding the CDC.

Sources claim that as a practice, the departments entrust independent charge of the current duties as and when a post falls vacant to an official in the department by ignoring the provision of the rules and instructions issued by the personnel department. This leads to cascading effect in the lower rung officials, especially when the officials holding CDC charge start making requests for treating their CDC period as part of the qualifying service for promotion to the next higher post.

A recent order by the department of personnel states that entrusting the CDC of a post independently and subsequently treating this period as part of qualifying service amounts to the promotion through back door in contravention of the recruitment rules.

A number of factors such as assessment of ACRs, integrity, pendency of criminal/departmental proceedings, clearance from vigilance etc are required to be kept in view while promoting a government servant, states the order.


Demolition drive at Raipur Khurd
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The UT estate office conducted a demolition drive at Raipur Khurd village to vacate the land encroached by villagers adjoining the sewerage pipeline.

According to the spokesman of the Encroachment Department, the drive was conducted under the supervision of SDM Abhishek Dev in the village. Under this drive, the enforcement team demolished structures near a private school and houses adjoining the sewerage pipeline.

Official said instructions had been given to the Enforcement Department to clear the encroachments to facilitate the sewer line, which is to be extended from Raipur Khurd till the airport.



Chit Fund Case
Residents charge ASI with fraud
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 18
Residents of Surajpur and other areas around the periphery of the city today submitted a memorandum to the DGP, Vigilance, complaining against a local police officer for allegedly defrauding them in chit fund committees.

The residents led by Surjeet Singh submitted a memorandum to the DGP, Vigilance, VP Singh, demanding action against Assistant Sub-inspector Kishan Kumar for duping them of lakhs of rupees in the chit fund committee run by Sarabjit Kaur, a resident of Dhakoli.

The DGP assured them that the police would investigate the matter and if the ASI was found guilty action would be taken against him as per law.

Later talking to mediapersons here, Surjeet said that Kumar posted at the Sector 6 police headquarters in connivance with Sarabjit Kaur had duped him and other members of he committee to the tune of Rs 11 lakh. He said Sarabjit had been running the chit fund for the past 10 years and had gained their confidence by returning the money. He said the ASI used to assist the woman, who was illiterate, to maintain the accounts. He said last year they increased the monthly deposits to the tune of Rs 4,000, Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000 under various chit fund schemes.

Surjeet alleged that in the past 10 months the accused used to inform them through phone that the committee had been given to such and such persons. He said that last month he got suspicious of them and contacted the other members whether they had received any money from the accused. He said when they met them (Sarabjit and the ASI) they refused to return the money to them and told them do whatever they could. He further alleged that ASI also threatened them of dire consequences if they reported the matter to the police.



Students burn PEC mgmt effigy
Tribune News Service

Students and hostel workers burn an effigy of the management at Shivalik hostel on the PEC campus in Chandigarh on Friday.
Students and hostel workers burn an effigy of the management at Shivalik hostel on the PEC campus in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, June 18
The Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA), a youth body formed by PEC students, today burnt an effigy of the PEC management in Shivalik Hostel, along with the mess workers’ union (PEC). The same was done at various district headquarters of Punjab, said members of the group.

The members and mess workers shouted slogans against the management for suspending five students and demanded that those students should be taken back without any conditions.

RYA sate committee member, Amandeep said, “The PEC management wishes that no one should question their dictatorial policy making and when someone tries to challenge their anti-student policies, they suppress it.”

Amaninder, one of the state committee members, said, “PEC is not the private property of the management and the students and workers have equal rights in the policy making, but it is not possible

in a dictatorial environment. We demand democracy in the campus and we were suspended for this demand.”

Satish, mess workers’ leader, said, “These students supported the demands and if the management uses repressive measures against them, we will fight for them.”



Tree felling: Forest officials, cops under lens
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 18
The role of forest officials and the police in the case of illicit felling of ‘khair’ trees in Bardhar village here has now come under the scanner.

In a complaint filed with the National Commission for Women three women of the village - Banti Devi, Piari Devi and Guro Devi - have accused the cops of harassing them and with their family members in connivance with forest officials for exposing the reckless felling of trees in the area.

It may be mentioned here that last April several villagers, in a representation to the Punjab principal chief conservator of forests, MP Rai, had pointed out that under the “garb of securing permits for cutting down trees the unscrupulous elements had even ventured into nearby areas and indulged in large scale tree felling. A tractor trolley with the illegally axed trees had been seized in presence of the forest officials.

Despite the recent incident in which trees were illicitly cut down in Parol causing major damage to the Shivalik Hills Jyanti Majri, forest officials are not taking the complaints seriously.

The villagers have stated that despite complaints filed with the additional PCCF Punjab forest department against forest ranger Randhir Singh Chakkal, Siswan forest range, Sukhwinder Singh, block officer and Balwinder Singh, forest guard, no action had been taken against them.

The complainants said instead those involved in the tree felling had threatened them with “dire consequences” and a false police case was registered against their family members. A case under sections 323,324, 326, 148, 149 of IPC was filed against Krishan Lal, Krishan Kumar, Gurmail, Krishan Ram and Charna by ASI Saroop Singh of Purkhali police post, the complainants stated.

According to the villagers, police officials have been exerting pressure on them to withdraw their complaint on illegal tree felling. The officials deputed by the forest department have failed to conduct a proper probe into the matter, the villagers added.



PU student bodies set up new mobile help desks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
An objection on the duplication in allotment of help-desk to a student party was raised at the meeting of student leaders held at the Dean Student Welfare office today.

The meeting, in which representatives of nine student parties were present, was held to allot help-desks at the PU campus for helping students at the time of admission.

The Student’s Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) alleged that the Himachal Pradesh Students Association (HPSA) was a “fake party” and the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) was bidding for two help-desks instead of one by using the name of the HPSA.

SOPU leader pointed out that HPSA candidate Tenzin Negi had fought elections for the post of general secretary for PUSU last year and his mobile number even figured in the helpline poster of PUSU.

The HSPA has been asked to submit documents of its authenticity at the next meeting on Monday at 3pm. The students are expected to set-up help desk by coming Tuesday. 



Woman suffers burns in stove burst
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Anu, a 19-year-old married woman, suffered severe burns after the stove on which she was cooking went up in flames at her residence in Mauli Jagran, here, this morning. She was reportedly filling kerosene in the burning stove.

The incident occurred around 9.30 am. Her husband Ravi tried to douse the flames and burnt his hand in the process. The victim was rushed to the Sector 16 Government Multi- Specialty Hospital from where she was referred to the PGI.

Her condition is said to be stable. Ravi works in a car accessory shop in Burail.

The police said the victim’s statement had been recorded before a magistrate in which she termed the incident, as an accident. 



Mock fire drill at Shastri Market

Chandigarh, June 18
To check the alertness and response of firefighting staff and condition of firefighting equipment, a mock fire drill was conducted today at Shastri Market located in Sector 22 by the Chandigarh fire and emergency department at 6.30 pm.

The backside booths of Shastri Market were selected as a site for the mock drill. According to fire official, ML Sharma, the response of the fire crew and shopkeepers was appreciable. He said as the vehicles were parked on the roadside, fire vehicles had not get an easy path to reach the fire spot. He said to manage the vehicles they have to call the traffic police.

A team of doctors reached the site and medical care was provided to the mock-injured persons, who were later evacuated from the site of the mock fire incident. — TNS



Class XI Admissions 
Subject-wise marks to break tie
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Putting an end to apprehensions that a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) tie would lead to utter confusion in the forthcoming government school class XI admissions, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has agreed to provide subject-wise marks to break the tie.

UT’s District Education Officer Chanchal Singh said his department was currently holding talks with the CBSE and would finalise modalities in a few days.

Initially, the CBSE had expressed reservations about such a system. The CBSE would, however, ensure complete privacy of the marks, which would only be made available to DOEACC (Department Of Electronics Accreditation for Computer Courses) authorities. Information would be provided only if the tie persisted even after going through the specified three-tier process.

According to this three-tier process, if two candidates scored the same CGPA, grades of a set of subjects (which would vary for each stream) would be taken into account. If the tie continued to persist, the seat would be allotted to the elder candidate. If both were of the same age, the department would seek subject-wise marks from the CBSE.

“The Education Department has specified a set of subjects to be considered for admission to each stream. For example, the merit in science, mathematics and English will be considered for admission to sciences. If two candidates applying for a science seat score a tie, we will provide actual marks of the science subject. If the tie still persists, we will release the marks of a second subject, such as mathematics and so on. The department will upload the list of tie cases on counselling software and we will upload details only on this,” said CBSE Regional Director DR Yadav.

Back to numbers?

“We cannot affect the future of thousands of students just by being adamant over not sharing marks. Grading is here to stay and it will obviously take some time to completely do away with marks.”

DR Yadav, Regional Director, CBSE Whither software?

Interestingly, while the Education department claims to be ready for the upcoming online counseling, the software for the same is yet to be in place. DOEACC Additional Director VK Jain claimed that no admission criteria had so far been received from the Education Department. “The Education Department did talk about evaluating the CGPA and mentioned some tentative criteria to break a CGPA tie, but nothing seems to have been finalised so far. We are awaiting their inputs and only after that will we put a system in place,” he said.



Teachers’ feedback system a toothless exercise
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The UT higher education department’s teachers’ feedback system, which has been extended from the government to private colleges, continues to be a toothless exercise.

Claiming to be a medium for the students to fearlessly point out anomalies in the teaching system, the project fails to ensure a compulsory element of anonymity, which according to director higher education (DHE) Ajoy Sharma is optional.

“The feedback forms have columns of student name and roll number, but if a student doesn’t want to put his name he need not. I don’t think that putting his or her name will bar any student from giving a true feedback,” feels Sharma.

The argument stands void in a scenario where around 30 per cent of the evaluation is internal and to the discretion of a teacher.

Another big flaw in these ambitious feedback programmes is lack of accountability on the part of teachers meant to be evaluated.

No provision has been laid so far to keep a track of the feedback received by a particular teacher and surprisingly, the feedback is meant to be submitted to the teacher concerned only rather than the department or principals concerned. The system, according to the DHE, will not form the basis of any action taken in favour or against the principals, as the project is based on the apparent utopian concept of self-improvisation.

“We don’t want to penalise the teachers. I think the best way to improve the system is to hand over the feedback to the person concerned to improvise. If we make the feedback system a criterion to analyse for ACRs, I don’t think it will be much of a help,” said Sharma.

The view, however, has educed resentment amongst educationist, as one of the principals said, “If a teacher has nothing to loose even if he is not performing well then why would he improve? Policies cannot be made on idealistic subjects like self-improvisation. In the current system, expecting a student to afford to say the truth knowing that his assessment depends on the teacher is impossible. Similarly, if the teachers will not be adjudged on this feedback, it will end up being yet another exercise. I think the system needs to hold them accountable now.”



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