C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


1,924 Houses Lying Vacant
CHB blinkers on for 25 years
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Facing accommodation problems in the city? Strange as it may seem, there are as many as 1,924 dwelling units constructed by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), meant mainly for economically weaker sections (EWS), which have been lying vacant, some for as long as almost a quarter-of-a-century. This is even while the CHB has been floating new housing schemes over the last two or three years.

Thanks to official indifference and utter neglect, some of these dwelling units, which are mostly located in the southern belt of the city, are known to have been illegally occupied or have become an abode for anti-social elements and stray animals.

More specifically, these dwelling units are located across Sectors 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 45, 46, 47, 51, 52 and 55 and the Modern Housing Complex at Mani Majra. This is in addition to dwelling units at Palsora, Colony Number 4, Dadu Majra, Dhanas and Maloya.

In fact, to accommodate most of these housing schemes at the time of conception, many nearby villages had been taken over, with the promise of a separate quota of houses for those villagers.

While the quota still remains undecided, councillor Kuldeep Singh, who has been struggling for allocation of quota, says, “If the administration cannot ensure quota, it can at least allot the vacant houses to those who had been promised those.”

Decade-long slumber

In 1990, the CHB had constructed about 240 one-room houses. But inexplicably, those were kept vacant for almost a decade. By the time the authorities woke up from their slumber to take note, they discovered that sanitary and hardware items, windowpanes and doors had either been broken or stolen. The CHB had registered a case with the police. After this fiasco, lakhs were spent on renovation of the houses. Some houses had since been allotted while many were still lying vacant.

‘Will check it out’

While the Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board declined to attend to his phone despite repeated attempts to contact him, UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, when contacted, said, “I am not aware of this, but, I will ask the CHB Chairman to look into it. If a certain number of houses have been constructed, it is unfair to have not allotted those.”

Vacant all round

n 950 houses lying vacant at Maloya, Mani Majra and Palsora. The maximum number of houses, constructed between 1983 and 1993, lying vacant at Palsora.

n 702 small houses lying vacant at Dadu Majra, Dhanas and Indira Colony. Constructed under Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission schemes between 1983 and 1990.

n 73 houses under Category-IV (one-bedroom set) at Mani Majra, constructed in 1995, lying vacant. CHB sources claim that going by the dilapidated condition of these houses, the board will have to shell out more money than the original cost on renovation.

n 70 small houses unallotted at Sector 38 (West) between 2007 and 2009.

n 68 houses at Sector 56 and Colony Number 4 constructed under a JNNURM scheme between 1994 and 2006.

n 50 flats constructed under various categories lying vacant at Sectors 38 to 41, 44 to 47, 51, 52, 55 and Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra.

n 11 flats lying vacant at Sector 44-A. Constructed in 1987 under the high-income group category, but not allotted till date.



Power bill of  4.25 lakh for three days!
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
An employee of the Haryana panchayat directorate staying in a government accommodation received a shock when the UT’s electricity department gave him a bill of Rs 4.25 lakh. The bill details show that the power charged had been consumed in only three days from June 22.

The bill shows that 1,42,437 units of power were consumed by Rishi Pal in his house at Sector 27. Rishi Pal, who is handicapped, has questioned how the department could have issued such a massive bill without verifying the consumption details.

Rishi Pal has been asked to pay the bill, failing which action would be taken against him.

He said an electricity department employee informed him that the meter reading showed a consumption of 36,052.68 units over two months which indicated some fault in the meter. On December 12, 2009, he requested the department to change the meter, for which he even deposited a fee of Rs 120, but the department issued him a letter saying that there was no fault with the meter.

On February 8, 2010, the meter reading was recorded as 1,41,548 units for two months. He again approached the official concerned who asked him to deposit Rs 120 to change the meter. On June 22, the department installed a new meter only to issue him an inflated bill.

Superintending Engineer DP Singh said it could have occurred due to a faulty entry in the computer.



MC staff thrash vendor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
A vendor, Rampal, selling eatables on his bicycle today fell prey to the wrath of enforcement staff members of the municipal corporation (MC) who thrashed him in full public view at around 1 pm outside the UT police headquarters in Sector 9 here.

The MC staff members not only bashed him up, but also beat up a man who tried to intervene. In a bid to escape their ire, the man ran toward the road separating Sectors 9 and 10, where he was chased and nabbed. The assailants beat him up, paying no attention to the traffic, which was disrupted.

Adding insult to injury, the police let the assailants go from the spot without questioning them about the incident. The SHO of the Sector 3 police station, Inspector Mahavir Singh, who was passing by, stopped to inquire into the matter. The police took at least 10 minutes to take the victim to hospital.

The incident took place when the enforcement wing staff comprising about half a dozen personnel reached the spot and began picking milk packets and glasses of a roadside tea vendor. In the meantime, a vendor on a bicycle, identified as Rampal of Mauli Jagran, tried to flee. The staff chased him and beat him up.

The SHO went after flashing a message and a woman SI took over. The PCR was informed and two motorcycle-borne policemen were the first to reach the spot, followed by a police ambulance 20 minutes after the incident.

Later in the day, the SHO said Rampal was injured after he lost control over his bicycle and there was nothing to inquire into the issue.

The MC also washed off its hands, saying it was an accident and its staff had nothing to do with it.



HS no longer to be CVO
HCS officers land plum postings
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Reposing faith in the new officers from Haryana, the UT Administration today entrusted prized postings to four HCS officers in a bid to project the “new-look” administration.

While Maheshwar Sharma becomes the new Joint Secretary Home, Personnel, Vigilance, Transport, Local Government, Hospitality, Protocol, Revenue, Agriculture, Secretariat Establishment and Arts Culture, in place of Bhupinder Singh, who goes back to Haryana, another HCS officer Tilak Raj gets the important post of Land Acquisition Officer.

The other important posts of Joint Chief Electoral Officer (JCEO) and Director Hospitality will also go to him from Hargunjit Kaur, who will hold the charge of the Joint Registrar Cooperative Societies (JRCS) apart from the post of Assistant Estate Officer (AEO).

The posting of Lalit Kumar as Joint Commissioner and Secretary of the municipal corporation, in place of senior HCS officer PK Sharma, who will be the new DPI (Schools), is seen as part of the process to reward new talent.

HCS officer Mahavir Kaushik will hold the charge held by Vandana Disodia such as Director Industries-cum-general manager, District Industries Centre, Secretary, State Transport Authority and Controller, Weights and Measures.

Vandana Disodia steps into the shoes of Samwartak Singh as Director Social Welfare, besides holding the charge of Managing Director, Chandigarh Schedule Castes and Backward Classes and Minorities Financial and Development Corporation and Managing Director, Child and Women Development Corporation.

A close look at the work allocation revealed that certain PCS officers had been cut to size. While the charge of JCEO and Director Hospitality has been taken away from Hargunjit Kaur (PCS), another PCS officer NPS Randhawa has been given the charge of Director Public Relations, which was earlier being held as an additional charge by PCS officer Sandeep Hans.

Randhawa’s another major charge, JRCS, has been given to Hargunjit Kaur while he will get additional charge of Joint Director, Rural Development and Panchayats and nodal officer, State Agriculture Marketing Board.

The post of Additional IG (Prisons) and Superintendent Model Jail, earlier held by Randhawa, has been given to former DPI Sunil Bhatia, who will also look after the charge of Controller, Printing and Stationery.

Abhishek Dev, IAS, will be the new Joint Director, Food and Supplies, Secretary, Red Cross and Registering and Licensing Authority, relieving another IAS officer Prerna Puri of the additional charge.

No IT Director yet

The post of the IT Director continues to be a hot potato for the administration. With the allotments to major firms in the IT park under the scanner of the Central government for alleged irregularities, the administration in its wisdom has not posted a separate officer for the IT Department. At present, Sandeep Hans is holding the additional charge of the post.



Bulbul Case
Was newborn alive?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Government Multi Speciality Hospital-16 authorities will face more anxious moments as the histopathology report of the newborn, who allegedly died due to the negligence of the staff, is expected on August 7.

Bulbul, a native of Bihar, lost her baby at the OPD counter on July 21. Eyewitnesses alleged that the baby had died after its head hit the floor of the OPD at the time of the delivery.

Sources have said the report has confirmed that the baby was alive at the time of delivery. The preliminary postmortem report of the baby had mentioned a blood clot in the head.

Doctors had claimed that clots could occur if the baby was weak or delivered prematurely. Under such circumstances, a baby could not take the pressure of delivery, causing intracranial haemorrhage, which led to death in a majority of cases.

Although a final police inquiry report is expected only after the histopathology report is received, the police is conducting an independent inquiry into the incident.

Rejecting an in-house inquiry report of the hospital, the UT administration had asked Additional Deputy Commissioner PS Shergill and Director-Principal of the GMCH-32, Dr Raj Bahadur, to conduct a fresh probe and submit the report within a week.

The committee had sought extension for another week.



PU ragging case hits dead-end
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Investigations into the alleged ragging of a PU student have hit a roadblock with the victim turning “hostile”.

Having failed to make any headway in identifying the accused who ragged Tejas Anand, a first year student of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), senior police officials today claimed that the victim himself was not too keen to take the matter further.

“The moment an FIR was registered, the student left with his parents for Delhi, saying that he did not wish to take up the matter any more. We have not been able to interrogate him and are depending on inputs from other students. The case is too weak at the moment to nail anyone,” an official stated.

DSP (Central) Jagbir Singh, accompanied by the Vice-Chancellor, RC Sobti, met freshers and seniors of the department and urged them to pass any information in this regard.

“The student left for Delhi and we could not force him to stay back as he was stressed. We are continuing with the investigation and will determine the truth,” he said.

But this has not stopped the allegations that the police is trying to shield one of the accused who happens to be son of a senior IAS officer posted in Rajasthan. He has unofficially been identified as one of the four students who ragged Tejas.

“There is nothing of that sort. We have so far not got any names either from students or from the university,” reacted Jagbir.

About the lack of preliminary action against the accused, Dean Student Welfare Naval Kishore said: “The victim had submitted a letter saying that he did not want to pursue the matter further. But we still went to the police.

“It is pre-election time and names keep springing up. We cannot take action against anybody until the inquiry is complete.”



Rakhi Round The Corner
Busy days ahead for good old postman
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Thanks to the Internet and e-mail, the traditional way of delivery of letters by the postal department has earned the name ‘snail mail’.

When it comes to expressing emotions and love through a few strings of thread (‘rakhi’) on Rakshabandhan, women still tend to rely on the good old postman rather than virtual ‘rakhis’ on the web.

“Sending a e-greeting card to my brother on Rakshabandhan is not the same as sending him a ‘rakhi’ in an envelope. Unlike the e-greeting card, which will sit in his inbox till he finds time to open it, I am sure that he will tie my ‘rakhi’ on his hand when he receives it, even if for a short while,” says Anita of Sector 10.

Airing similar sentiments, Rakshita, a student of Panjab University, says e-greeting cards are nice, but impersonal. “Those do not have the same warmth as the tangible ‘rakhi’ threads,” she says. She adds that she has been relying on the friendly-neighbourhood postman for this task for years, rather than her trendy laptop.

No wonder, this season brings cheer for the postal department, which otherwise, has been severely hit by e-mail. “We do good business during this festive season and realise the importance of safe and timely delivery,” says KL Khanna, Chief Post-Master General, Punjab circle.

He says besides special delivery facilities for ‘rakhis’, the department has been putting special waterproof, scratch-free and self-sticking envelopes on sale at all post offices for sending ‘rakhis’.


Surprise checks on PCR personnel 
Only two cops pass test
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Following reports of the lackadaisical attitude of police control room (PCR) personnel in attending to distressing calls made by general public, senior officials of the Chandigarh Police have constituted a special team to conduct surprise checks.

During a special drive, in which 50 PCR points were checked, the conduct of only two policemen was found up to the mark. They were rewarded with commendation certificates, while those lacking in their performance were reprimanded.

“The move was started to check their approach in attending emergency situations. We are sending decoy complainants to check their reaction and attitude. At present, we are briefing them to improve their behaviour. The practice will go on and strict action will be taken against those found casual in their approach,” said the UT SSP SS Srivastva.

To further improve the functioning of the PCR, the police has urged the UT administration to provide escort Gypsies for VIPs. Earlier, the PCR staff on the VIP route had to the escort VIPs. This will help the PCR to concentrate on their prime task, the SSP said.

The surprise checks revealed that a majority of the policemen prefer passing the buck to information regarding brawls, accidents or other such incidents. Their pat reply to such incidents generally is that they move only after getting directions from the control room.

“We have engaged some persons who are asked to travel in vehicles wanted by the police and information is flashed though the control room.

If the vehicle passes unchecked through a PCR point, action is taken against the policemen deployed there, said the DSP (PCR and Communication) Roshan Lal.

It was also reported that PCR personnel fail to react to information regarding suspicious persons, vehicles and theft of vehicles even as the information about stolen vehicles is flashed in detail, the DSP said.



Security heightened at airport
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
A red alert has been sounded at the Chandigarh airport in order to check any untoward incident following the Independence Day celebrations.

Security would be beefed up at the city airport from August 6 to 20. The authorities have asked CISF personnel to search every vehicle coming towards the airport. According to CISF officials, extra rings of security have been added and baggage of passengers would be scrutinised minutely. Frisking would also be increased and extra vigil would be maintained in and around the airport.

Director, Chandigarh airport, Suneel Dutt told The Tribune that four checkpoints had been set up at the airport. The entry of visitors has been banned in the airport as a precautionary measure. No visitor would be allowed in the terminal building after buying a ticket in to receive guests, he said.

Senior officials at the airport confirmed that the staff manning the X-ray machines at the airport had been instructed to be extra vigilant while checking the luggage.



Tribune Impact
Result late students have reason to cheer
PSEB to give proportionate marks
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 5
Three days after The Tribune highlighted the plight of hundreds of students whose result was being shown as result late (RL) by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) as their awards in some subjects were untraceable, the board authorities today passed orders to give marks proportionate to their performance in the remaining subjects.

The affected students had appeared in the matric and senior secondary levels school examination conducted this year by the PSEB.

PSEB’s coordinator (examination) Maj Charanjit Singh Melu (retd) has stated that in cases where the result was RL due to bar code or ID, the marks may be given proportionate to their performance in the remaining subjects.

Incidentally, the chairman of the PSEB, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, in a clarification to the August 2 story carried by The Tribune about the plight of the students had stated, “The proportionate performance marks rule did not apply in all cases, hence sources of news report had been ill informed.”

The chairman had stated the board had conducted examination of nearly 10 lakh students on both levels, out of which 600 RL cases was quite a meagre issue. The board authorities have stated that the answer sheets were lying with the board.

“If the answer sheets are lying with the board then the awards lists should have been tallied by now as unique system of bar coding has been adopted by the board for the first time. The bar code enables the officials to tally award list with the answer sheet. However, the awards could not tallied,” sources said.

The issue of giving proportionate marks had been pending for the last few weeks. Last time it was followed in case of middle standard exams wherein answer books of over 100 students had gone missing in a particular subject.

The delay in clearing the RL cases was resulting in delay in publishing of the result gazette. In the past, the gazettes were made available within few days of the result being declared.



Minister orders repair of roads
Tribune News Service

Haryana Finance Minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav listens to the grievances of people in Panchkula on Thursday.
Haryana Finance Minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav listens to the grievances of people in Panchkula on Thursday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, August 5
Illegal possession on the land of HUDA and the municipal corporation was the main issue raised in the Public Relations and Grievances Committee meeting held here at mini secretariat.

Haryana finance, forest, irrigation and environment minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav presided over the meeting. Yadav directed district officers concerned to ensure repairs of the damaged roads. He asked that gates should be placed where they are required.

Local MLA DK Bansal told the minister that the road separating Sectors 7 and 8 is not safe because of some unsocial elements. There are no streetlights available on this road. The minister felt that the problem was genuine and directed engineers of the Uttar Haryana Vidyut Nigam to make arrangements of streetlights on this road.

Shortage of drinking water was the main problem of Kholmola village. Satvider Rana, ex-MLA, informed the minister that villagers were suffering with the problem of shortage of potable water.

The minister directed the officials to solve the demand of villagers within one week. There were 18 complaints and 12 of them were solved on the spot and pending issues would be solved in the next meeting of Grievances Committee.



Urinary Inconsistence
PGI starts behavioural therapy for patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The PGI has started the facility of behavioural therapy for patients with urinary inconsistence (UI) at its gynaecology outdoor patient department following a research conducted in the city on the plight of women suffering from this disease.

Interestingly, the research by the PGI had confirmed that behavioural therapy, a muscle strengthening exercise (moolbandh), is as helpful for such patients.

Professor Amarjeet Singh, community medicine, PGI, said urinary incontinence is largely a neglected problem despite the fact that it is easily treatable. It affects at least 30 per cent women all over the world, including India. Behaviour therapy through pelvic floor exercises can easily provide relief to women having urinary incontinence, he said.

A senior nurse of the PGI, Santosh Sharma, sister (grade-1), had conducted a survey in the city for her research work on the subject and found that 30 per cent of women were suffering from the problem. The research found that the affected women were shy of confiding it to any one and avoiding treatment.

Professor Amarjeet Singh said the damage to tissues of muscles of urinal passage at the time of delivery was responsible for the disease. There were two types of urinary inconsistencies. The patients suffering from stress inconsistencies find a small leakage of urine whenever they have cough or sneeze. Others who suffer from urge inconsistency find it difficult to hold the urine. This leads to psychological tension, he added.

The research work was submitted to the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, proposing that a project for the purpose should be initiated at the PGI.

The government has allocated Rs 14 lakh for the first phase of the project which aims to ascertain the feasibility of operating a behaviour therapy room for urinary incontinence attending obstetrics/Gynaecology (OBG) and urology OPD at the PGI.

A senior research fellow, Dr Meenakshi, will be available for counselling and attend the patients from Monday to Friday. Professor Vanita Jain is the co-investigator of the project and Dr Amarjeet Singh is the principal investigator. 



Sec 25 sole place for protests: admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
In view of the farmers’ agitation from August 10, spearheaded by the Bharti Kisan Union, the Chandigarh administration today clarified that the Rally Ground, Sector 25, was the spot authorised for rallies and dharnas.

Permission had not been granted by the administration to organise rallies and dharnas anywhere else in the city other than the location designated at the Rally Ground, a press note said.

This had been done to avoid traffic congestion and inconvenience to the public. Permission for organising rallies and dharnas was required to be obtained from the office of the District Magistrate.

Organising a rally or dharna at any location other than the site earmarked at the Rally Ground would be viewed seriously and stern action would be taken against violators in accordance with the law, the press note warned.



PUTA group for teacher-friendly PU

Chandigarh, August 5
The Akshay Khalid group today released its manifesto for the forthcoming PUTA election, wherein the key agenda seems to be ensuring a teacher-friendly implementation of new UGC regulations.

Declaring the priorities, presidential candidate Professor Akshay said, “Some of the tasks identified by the group may take more than one year for their realisation. We want to contribute towards the development of Panjab University by making it more teacher friendly.”

The group wants to contribute towards the smooth implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations for the financial security of PU.

It has also promised to ensure speedy recruitment of faculty in faculty-starved departments.

“We did make a headway during our last tenure, but a lot still needs to be done.We will ensure that specialised subjects are not forced upon teachers who do not have professional expertise in those very areas. Teachers are heavily overburdened, and the research work has taken a backseat,” said Akshay. The group promised to ensure that no UGC recommendation was misinterpreted to the disadvantage of teachers. — TNS



33 villages get computerised
Getting copies of land records easier
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 5
Landowners in villages of Mohali district will no longer have to run after patwaris to get copies of their land records as the land records of 33 villages of Mohali tehsil have been computerised and is available at ‘fard kendra’ set up at the district administrative complex here. This record includes ‘jamabandies’, mutation registers and patwaries ‘roznamchas’.

An applicant would just have to go to the Centre, tell his name and name of his village and computer would search for the record. A computer generated ‘fard’ would be immediately provided to the landowners on a payment of Rs 20. To review the progress of computerisation of revenue record, Anurag Verma, secretary (revenue), today conducted inspection of the centre.

The secretary interacted with the farmers who have come there to collect their copies of ‘jamabandies’ (popularly called ‘fard’). Kirpal Singh of Hassanpur village and Tara Singh of Rurka village expressed their satisfaction with the new system.

The secretary (revenue) further informed that the computerisation of record of another 25 villages of this tehsil was also going on war footing and these villages will also be made live within a fortnight.

A system had been evolved to continuously update the computerised record as a result of sale deeds and inheritance. For this purpose a roster has been prepared and each patwari will visit the ‘fard kendra’ twice a week and get the record updated.

On finding that certain officials had not updated their record, the secretary directed the tehsildar to ensure within a week that patwaries and data entry operators enter all mutations pertaining to the sale deeds registered in July.

He sought compliance report in this regard from Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand. Additional Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Singh Kainth and Sub Divisional Magistrate RPS Walia were also present on the spot.



Slapgate: UT schools to be fenced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
Having finally woken up to the need of beefing up security in UT schools, Home Secretary Ram Niwas has asked the UT education department to install fences around all schools.

Learning a lesson from the third slapping incident in a row, where a teacher of a government school in Karsan was slapped by an outsider after the school hours, the administration claims to be already working on a security module for UT schools.

“We will be reconstructing boundary walls wherever required. All walls will be properly fenced. The project will be undertaken in phases,” informed District Education Officer Chanchal Singh.

The move comes in the wake of the fact that several incidents have been reported from various government schools, wherein outsiders or former students have slapped either teachers or students. While most of the incidents have ended up in a compromise, they have raised serious concerns over security in schools.

It may be noted that it is not the first time that the UT administration has announced big plans for school security.

Former DPI (S) SK Setia had designed a similar project, which had received a go-ahead, but was shelved with Setia’s repatriation.

The project was designed to revamp the school security infrastructure. It not only aimed at revamping boundaries but also installing CCTVs and getting trained security personnels for schools.The education department had also earmarked funds for it.

“That project had identified over 60 schools from across the city which lacked proper boundary walls. Funds were earmarked to reconstruct them and install fencing. The proposal also talked about increasing security staff and appointing security heads in each school,” revealed an education department official.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |