C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Computer shop gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Computer hardware worth lakh of rupees was gutted in a fire that broke out at a computer shop in Sector 41 this morning. An employee of the shop noticed the fire and informed his employer, Manish Rana. He stated that the fire might have been caused due to a short circuit.

Fire department officials said that the blaze spread in no time as the shop was packed to capacity with computer hardware. The fire tenders had to face tough time in reaching the site. A lot of precious time was wasted in clearing the haphazardly parked vehicles.

A fire official said there was no fire safety system in the shop. Had they installed any in-built fire-fighting system like water sprinklers, the fire could have been controlled at the initial stage. 



82-yr-old man dies of burns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
An 82-year-old man was burnt to death when a fire broke out at his residence in Buterla village here in the wee hours today. The victim identified as Sukhdev Singh was living alone in the house and the police has ruled out foul play behind the incident.

Giving details about the death in the fire incident, the SHO of the Sector 39 police station, Inspector Janak Rana, said that Sukhdev Singh’s neighbour detected the smoke billowing out of the house at around 2.30 am when he woke up to take a bath before offering prayer. The neighbour informed Sukhdev Singh’s son, Ajaib Singh, who is also living in the same locality.

Ajaib Singh reached there and with the help of his neighbour tried to extinguish the flames by pouring water. Meanwhile, the fire brigade and the police were informed about the incident.

“No one paid any heed to the whereabouts of Sukhdev Singh initially. It was only later when they managed to get into the house they found the charred body of Sukhdev Singh”, said a police officer.

Sukhdev Singh, who was hardly able to move on his own, was sleeping in his two-room house when the fire broke out. He sustained severe burns on his head and other parts of the body. He was rushed to the Sector 16 Government Multi Specialty Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The SHO said the post-mortem examination would be conducted in the presence of the forensic expert tomorrow. He said inquest proceedings had been initiated into the death.



Youth Akali Leader’s Murder
Prime accused arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The police today arrested Balwinder Singh, alias Minkel Bajaj, the prime accused in the murder of youth Akali leader Triptdeep Singh, alias Tippa Sekhon, who was allegedly shot dead in Sector 9 on July 13.

Police said a .32 revolver and four cartridges were recovered from the accused. DSP (central) Jagbir Singh said Minkel admitted to have shot Tippa during preliminary interrogation citing revenge as a motive behind the killing. He told the investigators that Tippa, along with others, made a MMS of his sister and circulated it. Though Tippa was initially booked in the case, his name was later dropped form the chargesheet. Feeling that injustice was meted out to him, he decided to eliminate Tippa.

After shooting Tippa, Minkel fled from city in his Santro car (PB-30-F-5935). He stayed in Delhi, Ganganagar and in Maharastra during his run, the police said.

The DSP said police arrested Minkel following a tip-off that he would be coming to city to contact his lawyer for moving an anticipatory bail application in a court. The police had an information that Minkel would be coming in a white-coloured Santro car and set up a check point near the Punjab Engineering College. The police stopped the car and on verification, the driver identified himself as Balwinder Singh, alias Minkel Bajaj of Jodhu Colony in Muktsar. The search of the car led to the recovery of a .32 revolver made by the Indian Ordinance Factory along with four cartridges.

The bullet recovered during the post-mortem of Tippa was also of a .32-bore weapon. “It would be sent for forensic examination to find out whether the shot was fired from the revolver recovered from Minkel,” said a police official.

The DSP said they would try to get the details of the whereabouts of Minkel’s associates involved in the crime. He would be produced before a local court for a police remand.

Tippa was found writhing in pain in Sector 9 on the road separating market and residential area in the afternoon that fateful day. He was rushed to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Specialty Hospital.



Govt schools fail in SSA report
Skewed teacher-pupil, student-classrooms ratio to blame
Sumedha Sharma/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Even as the UT Education Department is busy planning e- classrooms for city government schools, it is yet to look into the number of teachers and classrooms for the same.

According to the 2009-2010 District Information System for Education (DISE) report, released by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, city government schools continue to ail with skewed teacher-pupil and student-classrooms ratio. Claiming it to be a major weakness of schools, the report termed it as one of the key reasons why students were not getting individual attention.

The report, which forms the key basis of the analysis of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, enlists the statistical details of all the schools across the country along with their strengths and weaknesses.

“The report analysed schools on various parameters on the basis of data obtained from September 2009. We are yet to analyse it properly, but lack of optimum number of teachers and classrooms has been depicted in the data. The same problem existed last year following which several measures were taken. Things cannot change overnight. We have done new recruitments and are getting more classrooms. We will recruit 500 more teachers and set up five new schools,” said a senior official. DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia was not available for comments despite several attempts.

According to the affiliation bylaws of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), every school should restrict its teacher-student ratio to 1:30, while the number of students per classroom should not exceed 35. The ratio, however, goes in for a toss in government schools where enrolments rises at an average rate of about 7 per cent every year, while addition of staff and classroom is done at the most once a year and in some cases, not even once a year.



Back where it all began
Already functional, the PGI’s animal house is being spruced up by the CHB before inauguration by the UT Administrator on July 31
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
After functioning for over six months, the animal house, which forms a part of the PGI’s experimental medicine and biotechnology department, is only now being finally readied for its inauguration by UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil on July 31.

However, what is intriguing is that the structure, built from funds allocated to the PGI in the 10th five-year plan, is inexplicably being refurbished by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) from its own funds even though the building was handed over to the PGI after the board completed its construction in August 2009.

Sources close the administration said the board was spending lakhs of rupees on sprucing up and cleaning the entire building. A few years ago, the PGI had handed over the deposit work for the animal house to the CHB. The latter, after completing the work, handed it over to the PGI.

When asked why the board was conducting renovation work on PGI’s building, CHB chairman Mohanjit Singh said: “The work is done by contractors under the board’s supervision, but the money is being spent from the project fund.” However, he evaded a reply when it was pointed out the building was handed over to the PGI after completion last year.

What is surprising is the need for the CHB to bear the cost of the renovation. If the funds are being spent by the PGI, then, as per the procedure, the PGI would have asked the board to prepare an estimate and the same would have been sent to the board meeting for its approval.

A visit to the building reveals cleaning, painting and other refurbishing work along with a new lift specially being installed for the purpose of carrying animals.

Interestingly, though the inauguration of the new animal house was planned four times in the past, it could not materialise. Apparently seizing an opportunity to show off their performance, certain administration officials have included this otherwise functioning animal house in the list of buildings to be formally inaugurated by the UT Administrator.

PGI sources said the animal house had earlier been functioning from an old building that lacked basic facilities such as air-conditioned rooms for animals on whom drugs were being tested and were also used for research. Consequently the animals were falling sick and even researchers were in doubt if the research conducted on them would bear any fruit.

The building has small animals, including mice, rabbits and guinea pigs used for the purpose of research in various departments of the medical institute.



Probe into newborn’s death suffers setback
OPD attendant denies allegations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Investigations by the police into the death of a newborn due to alleged negligence at the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16, suffered a setback today after Dharma, an OPD attendant who is under suspicion over the missing registration card, denied the allegations against him.

Yesterday the hospital’s inquiry report had indicted Dharma for the negligence, stating it was he, instead of a doctor, who had advised the child’s parents to have diagnostic tests conducted on the baby.

Chhote, the newborn’s father, also confirmed this to police and hospital officials.

The cops zeroed in on Dharma after she was seen holding a registration card in the footage captured on the CCTV camera installed in the hospital ward.

Interrogation of Dharma, however, failed to reveal anything about the whereabouts of the missing registration card of Bulbul, the baby’s mother. Dharma was shown the CCTV footage in which she was reportedly seen holding Bulbul’s card in her hand. She, however, alleged the footage had been “tampered” and denied she was holding "no such thing” at the time of the incident. “It was a bedsheet in my hand, which is being described as Bulbul’s registration card”, she claimed.

Dharma also denied she had prescribed the diagnostic tests on the registration card. “On the contrary neither Bulbul or Chhotu met me in the OPD”, she told the police.

During questioning Dharma had claimed the hospital’s CCTV footage was being handled by an employee of the police’s cyber crime cell, who is the husband of a staff member posted in the GMSH’s gynaecology department. “In all probability the footage was tampered”, she alleged.

The police, however, sealed the hard disk and other important components of the CCTV camera and sent them to the laboratory to ascertain if there was any substance to these allegations.

The cops also questioned Maya, a member of the hospital’s labour room security staff. The statements of the newborn’s parents were also recorded after they were taken to the labour room and OPD today morning.



Hooked on Nicotine 
Urban teens puff out rural youths
Anuja Jaiswal/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Contrary to the general perception that teenagers living in the city’s slums and rural areas smoke more and are bigger abusers of other tobacco products as compared to their educated and suave urban (read living in sectors) counterparts, it turns out it is the latter who are hooked on nicotine more deeply.

As shocking as it may sound, urban teenagers (aged 15 to 19 years) beat their rural peers hollow when it comes to abusing nicotine, either by smoking cigarettes or ‘bidis’ or munching products containing tobacco like ‘zarda’. A study conducted by the tobacco cessation centre of the drug deaddiction & treatment centre of PGI’s psychiatry department reveals that, as compared to 69 per cent urban teenagers, only 28 per cent in the union territory’s rural areas were addicted to nicotine.

Though the study involved over 1,892 people from the city, 173 of them were identified as those who were either smoking or consuming products like ‘zarda’ or ‘pan parag’ with a tobacco content. Of these 173 nicotine abusing children, 119 were from urban areas with only 50 from rural ones. According to the data, a majority of children (70 per cent) were from nuclear families.

The socio-demographic profile of these children also throws up interesting facts. Only 11 percent of them were illiterate and the others were either studying or had completed high school. The study showed that peer pressure was the single most important factor (66 per cent) pushing these youngsters towards tobacco abuse. Factors like stress and aping role models to start nicotine abuse were relatively very low with only two and five per cent, respectively.

Interestingly, most of these children had successfully managed to keep their habit under wraps and their parents were not aware of it. And, despite their educational levels and awareness of the harmful effects of nicotine intake, 76 per cent of them had never tried to kick the habit.

Though 24 per cent of these children had made some attempts to give up their habit only 56 per cent had succeeded. The remaining 42 per cent again succumbed to peer pressure and were back to abusing nicotine.

Dr Savita Malhotra, head of PGI’s psychiatry department and corresponding author of the study, says they found 40 per cent of these children were smokeless tobacco users (with or without ‘zarda’, ‘khaini’, ‘gutka’, ‘paan masala’, chewing tobacco), 38.2 percent were smokers and 38 per cent were doing both.

“Smoking at a young age causes several disorders like asthma. However, if they go on smoking, at a later stage an irreversible disorder called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will manifest itself”. She goes on to add even pleasure smoking can be dangerous in the long run and so should not be taken lightly.

According to the data, 53 of the total samples taken had symptoms of cardiovascular/respiratory system - which include breathlessness, chest pain and dry cough with sputum. Of this about 45 per cent of this consisted of smokers, 30 per cent belonged to the category who used both the forms and 24 per cent were users of smokeless tobacco.

The study also shows nicotine abuse not only affects a person physically but also psychologically. 29 per cent of the children complained of restlessness, 26 per cent of irritability, 23 per cent of lack of concentration, 22 per cent revealed anxiety symptoms and 12 per cent complained of depressive symptoms.


Mayor withdraws water tariff agenda
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Once again the political compulsions have forced the Municipal Corporation Mayor, Anu Chatrath, to withdraw the agenda of increasing water tariff and sewerage in the city, which was to be tabled in the house meeting for approval, scheduled for July 30. This was decided in a pre-house meeting of the Congress councillors chaired by the Mayor and attended by some senior ex-Congress councillors.

The Mayor said that she had sent a letter to the MC Commissioner regarding the withdrawal of the agenda of the water tariff hike from the house meeting. The authorities had proposed an increase in the water tariff by around 50 to 60 per cent along with the increase of sewerage access from five per cent to 10 per cent on the water bill depending on the number of the toilet seats in each house.

There was also a proposal of imposing Rs 25 as service charges for the water connection to the consumer. These proposals were kept pending by the previous Mayor for the whole year and were to be tabled in the house for its approval to get development funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) released.

Objecting to the increase of water tariff to 60 per cent, majority of the Congress councillors said that officials were misguiding them on the issue. The councillors stated that the officers had informed them that to get grants under JNNRUM it was mandatory for every corporation to impose minimal water tariff to generate resources.

They stated that the officers had always assured them that the hike would be not more than 10 per cent which would show an increase of around Rs 15 to 20 per person in the water bill. But in the agenda, which is proposed by the officials show a hike of about 60 per cent.

The sources in the administration said that in a recent meeting the MC was asked to impose the service charges and increase the water tariff so that the grant of about Rs 60 crore could be released under JNNRUM. Under the economic reforms every corporation, which is availing the grant has to impose minimal house tax and service charges, increase in water tariff and install water meters in their city.

Last year it was not included

Last year, officers of the MC had sent agendas of water-tariff hike and imposition of house tax to ex-Mayor Kamlesh for tabling it in the House, but she did not allow them to be included in the agenda. However, in December, she sent both agendas to the committees with a plea that such matters should first be discussed threadbare in the committees and after receipt of the committee’s recommendations they would be considered by the House.



Misconception leads to tussle between Mayor and councillor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The proverb ‘little knowledge is dangerous’ proved correct as it resulted in a scuffle between BJP councillor Raj Kumari Mishra and Municipal Corporation Mayor Anu Chatrath today.

The BJP councillor alleged that the Mayor had used abusive language and threatened her for not attending the Ward Committee meeting which was mandatory for her during the election of its vice-chairman. The Mayor had only communicated to her that it was mandatory for every area councillor to conduct the meetings of the Ward Committee till the vice-chairman were not elected.

As per the schedule, Mishra was to conduct the election of the vice-chairman of the Ward Committee today but due to some mishap in her neighborhood she had to rush to Dera Bassi in the morning. As the member of the ward had no information about the cancellation of the meeting, they reached the venue on time for the election but after waiting for one hour they complained about it to the Mayor.

After receiving the compliant, the Mayor phoned Mishra to find out as to why she had not attended the meeting when it was mandatory for the councillor. When the Mayor tried to explain to her the meaning of mandatory, she become angry and stated that the Mayor had threatened to take legal action against her. When all seven BJP councillors along with eight ward members went to sort out this issue with the Mayor in her office, she explained to them the whole incident and felt sorry if she had hurt her feelings, due to miscommunication.

In a press note issued by Mishra, she has sought the Mayor’s apology.



Smooth Transfer of Departments
Nodal officers appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
To supervise the smooth transfer of departments from the Chandigarh administration to the Municipal Corporation, MC authorities today appointed nodal officers for this purpose. For primary schools transfer, MC Additional Commissioner PK Sharma has been appointed as the nodal officer. Whereas, for transfer of primary health care and civil dispensaries, Medical officer, health, Dr G Diwan and for V3 roads and parks, Chief Engineer, S S Bidda has been appointed as the nodal officers.

Sources said that the officers of the corporation would work out the modalities of infrastructure, available staff, vacancies and the status of new projects sanctioned in the respective areas with the administrative heads of the administration concerned. A senior official said that they would prepare a detailed report of each department which was going to be transferred to the corporation.

It may be mentioned that the administration had approved that all V3 roads, parks, green belts, 20 civil dispensaries, 21 health care centres, two polyclinic, Ayush hospital and six primary schools would be transferred to the corporation. The administration has directed the corporation to create its own cadre, within six months, for this purpose. After the shifting of the departments, the exiting staff of the administration will continue to function as such.



P’kula plunges into darkness
Almost 80 per cent of streetlights in town are non-functional
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 28
Plunged in darkness, roads in this satellite town were no less than a black hole. People had to move from light to darkness as streetlights in the city were non-functional.
Damaged streetlight poles near Industrial Area in Panchkula
Damaged streetlight poles near Industrial Area in Panchkula. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal

While most of the main roads in all sectors were all black with no lights at all, there were pockets of pitch darkness on the internal roads of various sectors.

While the situation irked the residents, the municipal corporation failed to take steps. All efforts of the residents’ welfare associations fell on deaf ears.

Defunct streetlights on almost all major roads and internal roads in various sectors caused inconvenience to the residents. To add to their woes, stray cattle on the roads, especially during night hours, lead to accidents as well. Almost 80 per cent of the total 10,000 streetlights installed in the town were not functional.

Though the corporation had assigned the contract for the maintenance about a month ago, but no progress was seen in this regard. According to sources, there are about 10,000 streetlights in the city and the administration plans to pay about ` 2 lakh per month to the contractors. The whole area has been divided into three zones (sectors and roads separating into two zones and markets and parks in third zone) and the work will be allotted to three contractors.

KK Jain, executive officer, municipal corporation, said the work on defunct light points had been started and the maintenance would be handed over to the contractors after the completion of the work.

He said damaged electricity poles would also be replaced soon as the administration had sought estimates from the technical department.

SK Nayyar, president of the Citizens’ Welfare Association, said streetlights had been non-functional for the past six months. He said they had brought the matter to the notice of the corporation several times, but nothing was done. He urged the authorities to take steps at the earliest so as to avoid accidents.

Threat to residents

Defunct streetlights on almost all major roads and internal roads in various sectors cause inconvenience to the residents. To add to their woes, stray cattle on the roads, especially during night, lead to accidents.



Removal of Boards
High drama witnessed as groups engage in verbal duel
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Panchkula, July 28
High drama was witnessed as two groups engaged themselves in verbal duel over the removal of the boards naming roundabout of Sectors 11-14 as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk.

The brawl began as soon as Dharminder Abrol and his family members, who had been maintaining the roundabout for the last about seven years, started removing the boards installed by an NGO, Bhagat Singh Jagriti Manch run by Jagdish Singh. He said they had only uninstalled the boards and had no intention to take these away.

The boards naming the chowk as Shaheed Bhagat Singh was installed on July 25 and the former DC and director elementary education had inaugurated the same.

While Dharminder maintained that the sub-divisional officer has asked the horticulture division, HUDA, to remove the boards, as no permission has been granted to Jagdish in this regard. He said they had been spending Rs 2 lakh annually on the maintenance of the chowk and had been winning first prize for the last five years. He alleged that Jagdish was only “advertising” himself by attaching his name to great martyr Bhagat Singh.

As per the so-called authority, a letter issued by he Chief Administrator to Administrator, HUDA, reads, “The matter has been examined and it has been decided that the Sectors 11-14 chowk, Panchkula, may be named as “Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk”. The letter further reads, “This issues with the prior approval of the Chief Minister of Haryana-cum chairman, HUDA.”

Sub-divisional officer HS Malik said no one had sought any permission for installing the boards. He said they doubted the intention of the NGO, which was not interested in maintaining the chowk. He said the department would take steps to remove the boards at the earliest.

However, Jagdish Singh, on the other hand, said he had installed the boards after getting the permission from the estate officer, HUDA. He said he had also got the permission from the CM office in this regard. However, when this reporter asked him to provide the copy of the same, he failed to provide the same. He said he had also informed the Superintendent of Police in this regard who had assured him of inquiry into the case.



Outsourcing of work to private players
Safai sewaks demand quashing of decision
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 28
The Mohali Municipal Employees Union, Balmiki Naujwan Sabha and other bodies of safai sewaks staged a dharna outside the office of the civic body today.

The union was protesting against the councils’s decision to outsource work of door-to-door garbage collection to a private agency.

The protesters raised slogans and demanded that the decision should be withdrawn as it would adversely affect the livelihood of persons who were already doing the work of garbage collection.

They then went to the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Phase I and submitted a memorandum in connection with their demands.

Krishan Lal Saini, president of the Municipal Employees Union, said the council had decided to give the work of door-to-door garbage collection to a Mumbai-based company. This would adversely affect safai sewaks who were already on the job as they would lose their livelihood. The contract system had only led to the exploitation of employees and should be discouraged.

He said employees were agitated, as a sanitary inspector had allegedly misbehaved with three employees of the sanitation branch, including two women.

The proposal to fix the rates for the door-to-door collection of garbage as per directions of the deputy director, department of local government, Patiala, was cleared at a meeting held earlier this month.

The rates proposed were Rs 20 per month for houses up to 50 sqm, Rs 30 per month for houses up to 150 sqm and Rs 50 for houses above 150 sqm. The rates in case of hotels and restaurants were to be fixed by the contractor concerned or council officials depending on the quantity of garbage.



CITCO staff condemn recruitment drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
CITCO Workers Union employees held a meeting at Hotel Mountview today against the recruitment drive by the CITCO management.

Kashmir Chand, president of the union, categorically pointed out that on one hand, the general managers of CITCO-run hotels were repeatedly asking for the retrenchment of staff as they were in excess to curtail the expenses and on the other hand, the head office was going ahead with the recruitment drive.

Members of the union said that the management was ignoring the rightful claim of the employees, who had been working with CITCO for years together to make it a brand name.

Utility workers, house man, waiters, room attendants, bell boys, security guards and door men who have worked for more than 20 years in their respective place of work have never been considered for promotion. On the contrary, the management was even shirking from rewarding or giving incentives to its staff and was adopting a pick and choose policy.

General secretary Baldev Raj and senior vice-presidents Prem Lal and Pradeep Sharma besides others also addressed the meeting.



‘Metrology vital for hi-tech instruments’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Emphasising that metrology aspect has to be taken very seriously while dealing with defence equipment to ensure state-of-the-art performance, General Manager of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) Suresh N said the firm had achieved the capability to calibrate its instruments in-house.

He was delivering the inaugural address at a workshop on “Metrological advancements”, organised by the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here today.

He said metrology was the science of measurement and it included all theoretical and practical aspects of measurement. At BEL, it was applied to radio frequencies and crypto applications. If any entity could not be expressed in numbers, it meant we know very little about that, he added.

In his keynote address, Anil Jain, managing director of the Vaisheshika Electron Devices, Ambala, said one had to be competitive and improve quality to achieve growths.

CSIO Director Dr Pawan Kapur said every product manufacturing stage called for precision measurement and conforming to certain standards.



Official to pay interest if payment delayed: AFT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
While granting reservist pension of an airman over three decades after he retired, the Armed Forces Tribunal has ruled that if the benefits are not released within the stipulated period, the onus of paying interest would fall on the official handling the matter.

Directing that Surinder Kumar Verma, who has been fighting for pension since 1979, be paid his due entitlements within four months, the Tribunal’s Chandigarh Bench comprising Justice N.P. Gupta and Lt Gen A.S. Bahia ruled that non-payment within the stipulated period would carry an interest of 8 per cent and should the payment not be made within a further period of three months, the burden of paying interest would shift on the official responsible for finalising the payment.

Verma had contended that he had joined the IAF in 1964 on the terms of nine years Colour service and six years reserve service. He retired in 1979 and his discharge certificate endorsed that he was liable to be inducted into reserve service at any time during the stipulated period.

He claimed that though he had served 15 years, thereby making him eligible for pension, he was denied any benefits on the grounds that no records showing him to be placed in reserve were available with the authorities.

The Bench ruled that the endorsement in the discharge certificate was unambiguous and definitely imposed reserve service liability on the petitioner and, therefore, he is considered to have been placed on reserve till 1979.



No respite from cattle menace in sight
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, July 28
It seems that the municipal council has failed to contain the cattle menace in town.

With stray cattle posing a threat to a number of lives in the recent past, commuters on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway are a harried lot.

Residents claimed that they had made several complaints to the MC in this regard, but nothing had been done so far.

Failing to take any steps to tide over the problem, the MC officials are yet to draft an action plan.

Residents demanded that the officials should provide a shelter to these animals.

A survey of the area revealed that these animals were often found roaming on the stretch between Zirakpur-Kalka and Zirakpur-Patiala.

On anonymity conditions, a traffic cop on duty said minor accidents were a routine affair on the stretch. He said the situation was even worse at night, as these often rammed into vehicles.

Gopal, who runs Gopal Gaushala at Bishanpura, stated that they had written a letter to the municipal council demanding more land.

A caretaker of the gaushala said they had provided shelter to a number of animals and there were times when one or the other person claiming to be owner of the cattle, took away the animal from the gaushala.

He said the MC should impose fine on those who leave cattle on roadsides.

Ankur Sharma, an MBA student said, “It is very difficult to commute on roads, as instead of manoeuvring vehicles, traffic cops are busy shooing away these animals”.

MC president NK Sharma stated that the council was planning to give more land to Gopal gaushala. “Anyone found leaving these animals on roadsides would be fined,” he added.



National Consumer Forum
Soft drinks co told to pay Rs 50,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Aradhana Soft Drinks Company in Ali Asgarpur village in Haryana to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to a complainant whose bottle contained a half-burnt bidi.

The complainant, Dr Sameer Bhardwaj, a resident of Panchkula, stated in the complaint that in the last week of June, 2008, he had purchased two bottles of soft drink for Rs 48. He stated that no cash receipt was given to him as per the normal practice. Before using the bottles, he observed debris floating inside the sealed bottles. He visited the office of the company several times, but no action was taken. He then filed a case in the consumer court.

In the orders pronounced by the consumer forum, the company was asked to pay a compensation of Rs 2,000 that was enhanced by the State Commission to Rs 50,000.

Upholding the orders of the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, the National Commission observed, “The company was responsible for manufacturing soft drinks. Thus, it should be burdened with punitive compensation so that in future they ensure that what they claim is also practised by them. The company is directed to pay the compensation of Rs 50,000 would meet the ends of justice.”



Mysterious death of PU student
Friends launch crusade against ‘honour killing’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The unrest in student quarters of Panjab University due to alleged “honour killing” of former research scholar, Shama Shukla, seems to be far from ending.

A candle light march was taken out this evening by residents of Sarojini hostel on the PU campus. Marching their way towards the student centre, girls of the hostel today expressed solidarity on the issue and demanded a probe into the untimely death of Shama. While Shama’s friends and former hostelmates suspected the involvement of her family members in her sudden death on July 24. However, members of the NGO, who brought the case to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, demanded a detailed probe into the case.

BS Gill, member of the students human rights network, who is also a law student at the university said, “We are not blaming Shama’s parents or any family member for the death, but we definitely want a detailed probe into the case, so that the truth is brought forth. We have sought the Punjab State Human Rights Commission’s intervention in the case.” Yet another member added, “Why was her body cremated by her family members in such a haste is not known. She went home in a healthy state and without any ailment at all.”

According to students, Shama, who was a research scholar at the department of Punjabi in PU, had recently left the hostel to join as a lecturer in a college. “Shama was my junior and I knew her family since a long time. I cannot believe that she died under such mysterious circumstances. We all suspect something foul in her sudden death,” said a student of the department on condition of anonymity.

During the candle march on Wednesday, students from adjoining hostels, students from the Punjabi department and members of the NGO, gathered in large numbers to demand action against those responsible for Shama’s death.

“It was not a natural death for sure. Shama’s close friends reveal that she planned to get married soon,” said Sukhpreet, a hostel resident. During the candle march, students took a pledge that they would seek justice for Shama and would not remain a silent spectator to honour killings in Punjab.


We are not blaming Shama’s parents for her death, but want a detailed probe into the case, so that the truth is unearthered. We have sought the Punjab State Human Rights Commission’s intervention in the case.

BS Gill, member, students human rights network, and PU law student.



Want to meet UT top bosses? wait till next week!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Those residents looking forward to an appointment with the top functionaries of UT Administration will have to wait till the next week for the officials are off to New Delhi for a meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

Officials, including the UT Advisor, Finance Secretary, Home Secretary and heads of various departments are participating in the meeting of the Planning Commission.

Sources claim that this will mean a virtual bonanza for UT employees with no senior functionaries around and will also affect important decisions as well. Around 25 officers, including heads of different departments and senior UT officials, are to attend the meeting which is crucial as far as the allocations of funds for UT’s planned budget is concerned. The amount of funds sanctioned in Delhi is what the UT is going to spend on the ongoing and new projects.

Also the coordination meetings of various departments will not take place this week due to the meeting in Delhi.



Apni mandi for Sector 49, 51, Dadu Majra

Chandigarh, July 28
Apni Mandi and Day Market Committee of Municipal Corporation unanimously resolved today to hold the mandi in Sector 49, 51 and Dadu Majra. This decision was taken as per the reference received from the DC, UT, to hold the mandi in Sector 49 on Saturday, in Sector 51 on Tuesday and in Dadu Majra on Thursday.

The meeting was chaired by Jagjit Singh Kang, councillor, and attended by other members of the committee. It has further been decided by the committee that the site for holding of apni mandi in these areas will be explored by the SDE concerned in consultation with the area councillor within two days. — TNS



Inquiry reports against Pbi varsity VC ignored
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Registration of criminal case against Punjabi University vice-chancellor S.S. Boparai was recommended in two successive inquiry reports by different superintendents of police, but government and the Vigilance Bureau disposed what the cops proposed.

An affidavit filed by Punjab additional-secretary, vigilance department, O.P. Popli, had claimed that comments were received from the Department of Higher Education. These were duly considered in the vigilance department and it was found that “no offence is made out against Boparai. Accordingly, vigilance inquiry number 7/07-Patiala against Boparai was decided to be dropped.”

Dissatisfied with the response of vigilance department, HC Arora -counsel for petitioners Harsharan Kaur and others - submitted before Justice Daya Chaudhary that vigilance department be directed to place on record the report of superintendent of police, vigilance bureau, for perusal by the court. Thereupon Justice Daya Chaudhary had directed the respondents to produce the inquiry report.

The SP, Anil Sharma, personally present during hearing on Tuesday, placed on record the inquiry report of SSP Shiv Kumar Sharma. The report says “inquiry report indicting SS Boparai and recommending registration of a criminal case against him was submitted to DIG, VB, Chandigarh, who directed that SS Boparai be examined again to explain the various charges against him.”

Accordingly Anil Sharma, and SP Shiv Kumar Sharma, examined Boparai again in his office. The report concludes: “It is recommended that a criminal case be registered against Boparai and his associates. Necessary documents, evidence and additional facts will be collected during investigation.”

The report says Boparai made a large number of illegal appointments. These appointments have given pecuniary advantage to the beneficiaries of such illegal appointments, without any public interest.

Boparai appointed J.S. Grewal as visiting professor of History at monthly salary of Rs 50,000; and gave him a chauffer driven car or payment of Rs 7 per kilometer etc, whereas maximum payment, which can be made as per UGC guidelines is Rs 1500 per lecture, or Rs 10, 000 per month.



Girl, paramour cooked up kidnapping

Mohali, July 28
The local police yesterday claimed to have solved the case of “kidnapping” of a 23-year-old girl, Balpreet, with the arrest of her boyfriend Avinash Garg, alias Rahul. Both wanted to marry against the wishes of their parents.

The “kidnapping” had been planned so that they could extract money from the girl’s father.

According to the police, the “kidnapping” had been planned a few days ahead of the marriage of the girl’s elder sister. “Since the couple wanted to go abroad, they needed money. So both connived to extort money from her parents,” said a police official.

Soon after eloping with the boy, Rahul, hailing from Lehragagga, Bathinda, called up the girl’s family in Phase 3 A here, stating that their daughter had been kidnapped and they could pick her Activa scooter from the Phase-II gurdwara.

Posing as kidnapper, the boy used girl’s mobile phone to call up her family at 9.30 pm on June 24. Soon after the incident, the family informed the police. — TNS



Vehicles taken at gunpoint reported as ‘simple’ theft
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 28
In a bid to ease out crime rate, two vehicles that were taken away at gunpoint by unknown persons here have been shown as cases of ‘simple’ theft by the police.

According to reports, Kamaljeet Singh, a resident of Sector 68, had come to the Phase-V market late on Monday evening. When he was sitting in his car two armed persons allegedly came from both sides and pointed a revolver and a knife at him.

They forcibly took him away in his car and later dropped him near Kharar. He had to come back on his own after which he filed a complaint with the police. But in the crime report released by the police today it has been stated that Kamaleet Singh had parked his vehicle in the parking area and when he came back from the market he saw two boys taking away his car. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC against two unknown persons.

It is reported that about a month ago, a car was parked in the Phase-V market and husband had gone to make some purchases. His wife and child were sitting in the car. One person came and took away the car at gunpoint. The woman and her child were later dropped at some distance away from the scene of crime. But the police had even at that time shown it as a case of theft.

When asked, SS Gill, SP (city) said he was on leave and would look into the matter.



CBI seizes CTU records

Chandigarh, July 28
A team of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today seized records of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) depot No. 2.

When contacted, CBI Deputy Inspector General Mahesh Aggarwal said receipts and other documents were seized following an information that the CTU allowed the buses of the Ambala Bus Syndicate to ply from its bus stands at Sectors 17 and 43 despite the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The high court had asked the State Transport Authority (STA), Chandigarh, to stop the plying of Syndicate buses from the city from March 2009. However, these buses continued to till May this year. The record seized from the CTU will help the CBI in proving that the STA failed to comply with the orders of the high court due to which the private buses kept on plying in the city illegally, said sources —TNS



Action against protesters
PUSU approaches VC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Panjab University Student’s Union (PUSU) today submitted a memorandum to the Vice Chancellor. The union was protesting against the authorities decision to deal with protesters strictly. Recently, the Dean Student Welfare (DSW) had issued a circular informing the student organisations that blocking vehicular movement on the campus would invite strict action.

In the memorandum submitted by PUSU president Udey Singh Wirring, the first demand was regarding the girls hostel number 8, situated on the south campus.

“Gate number 3 of the main campus of university, which leads to the south campus should remain open till the time entry to the girls hostel is allowed, so that it becomes easy for girls to commute. There have been instances when girls had to enter the south campus from gate number 2 instead of gate number 3,” said Wirring.

In addition, students also alleged that unscheduled power cuts in the same girls hostel was a cause of worry. PUSU leaders also mentioned in the letter that the system of internal assessment in the department of pharmacy must be reviewed.

Wirring said, “There should be two internal examinations for students of University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS) instead of one and the best of the two should be counted for the final score.” He added that as per the new rule of the university, answersheets must be shown to students of all departments, including UIPS, as is being done in other departments. The issue pertaining to students of honour school failing to clear examination was also highlighted.



Outsider slaps girl student in school

Chandigarh, July 28
In a bizarre incident, an outsider entered the premises of the Sector 32 Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS) and slapped a Class XII girl student during recess hour on Monday.

The outsider, a former student of the school, was rusticated last year from Class XI. He entered the school premises with a group of students who had come to seek admission in Class XI. According to the school officials, he spotted the girl and tried to talk to her. When she resisted, he slapped her and fled, said the school authorities.

Interestingly, while the incident was the talk of the school on Monday, both the principal and district education officer pleaded ignorance till the girl’s parents reached school. Following this, the school authorities summoned the boy’s parents and both the parties settled the issue even before the education department team reached the school. “When we reached there, both the parties had already discussed and settled the issue. Many students were coming to the school to submit their fee for Class XI and it was then that the boy entered the school premises. We have asked the school authorities to tighten the security,” said Dilbaag Singh, deputy district education officer. — TNS



Second round of counselling at PEC begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The second round of joint admission counselling for engineering and architecture colleges in city commenced today at PEC University of Technology.

For electronics stream, starting rank for the all-India quota was 1,294 and the ending one was 4,317. Under Chandigarh (UT) pool, starting rank for the same stream was 272 and the ending rank was 6,961. On the first day of second counselling, vacant seats at PEC University of Technology were filled.

Officials revealed that most seats at PEC were vacated by students who had scored ranks in IIT entrance exam, besides the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), through which they secured a seat in PEC.

For computer science, starting rank for All-India quota was 1,920 and the ending one was 4,600, for mechanical stream, the ranks were 3,282 and 5,446, respectively. For the IT stream in PEC, the starting and ending ranks were 4,492 and 6,393, respectively.



Construction of sports hostel at PU
Students charged Rs 100 each

Chandigarh, July 28
The issue of charging Rs 100 from each student to construct a new girls sports hostel on the Panjab University campus has not gone down well with students and their parents.

A letter in this regard has been sent to the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

In a circular issued by Dean College Development Council, PU, to all affiliated colleges, it was mentioned that Rs 100 be collected at the time of admission for the construction purpose on the PU campus.

Students, in their letter to the Vice-Chancellor, mentioned that they had not been issued receipt for this amount.

The PU circular to colleges mentioned that the Syndicate had passed this resolution in the meeting held on September 27, 2009. It also mentioned that PUSC gave the recommendation for collection of funds and the PU Syndicate subsequently accepted the proposal. Ironically, the university has asked colleges to utilise 25 per cent of the funds collected from this amount for the upgradation of sports facilities in colleges and deposit the remaining 75 per cent. — TNS



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