C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Police cook’s wife poisons self, 3 kids to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Mystery shrouded the sensational death of the wife and three minor children of a cook with the Chandigarh police who worked at the residence of the UT inspector general of police. The four were found lying unconscious at their Sector 26 Police Lines home on Independence Day. Though the police has yet to ascertain the reason behind the death, investigators believe the deaths to be an outcome of a suicide pact.

Investigations have so far confirmed the victims had consumed some poisonous substance that led to their death. The police has seized the samples of food (rice and ‘dal’) found at the scene.

The 32-year-old cook, Vishnu, who was posted at IGP PK Srivastva’s home on Sunday, had been assigned the duty only yesterday and was not at home when the incident was detected.

The victims have been identified as Vishnu’s wife, Sunita, 29, his daughter Kajal, 9, and two sons - Suraj, 8, and Raj, 5.

Vishnu’s sister, Geeta, who was the first to know about the incident, told the police she went to her brother’s home at around 2.15 pm on Sunday. When her repeated knocks at the door went unanswered, she peeped through the backyard gate and found the door open.

Geeta said called up her husband, who then scaled the boundary wall and opened the main entry door and found the lifeless bodies of the victims on the floor. Bowls containing food were lying on the floor, while some rice and ‘dal’ was also scattered there.

The police, who were informed about the incident, rushed the victims to Government Multispecialty Hospital in Sector 16.

Sector 26 police station SHO inspector Shri Parkash said the police was working on all theories to ascertain the cause behind the sensational deaths and was conducting a detailed probe into the matter.

The police said Sunita, Raj and Suraj were pronounced dead on arrival while Kajal, who was referred to PGI, died around midnight. A police officer who was deployed at the hospital to assist in their treatment said doctors had had a tough time pumping oxygen into the victims’ lungs as their windpipes were found to be choked.

DSP (east) Jaswant Singh Khaira said the entire house was found to be in order and there were no signs of force being used on the victims. He added flies were found sitting on the food, which also hinted against chances of the food being poisoned.

“However, we can’t say anything at this juncture until the postmortem report arrives. Doctors have sent the viscera samples of the victims for chemical examination after which they would be able ascertain the cause of death”, Khaira said.

He said a team of experts from the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Sector 36 had examined the scene where the victims were found and had collected samples for chemical examination.

Sunita had gone with her children to their school in Timber Market to attend the Independence Day function. “They returned at around 11 am and were found unconscious at about 2:15 pm. The deaths occurred between these three hours, indicating they might have consumed a highly poisonous substance,” said a police officer.

Vishnu, who was present at the hospital during the postmortem, said the victims might have eaten food that was not good last night. He, however, asserted there were no problems in his family life.

Vishnu’s brother, Suriya, also a cook in the Chandigarh police, said the family was leading a peaceful life and the couple never quarreled with each other.

A next-door neighbour of the family stated they had never heard the couple quarreling, saying they were shocked yesterday when they heard cries from their house.

Khaira said inquest proceedings had been initiated into the deaths under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Later in the day the police handed over the bodies to the family after the postmortem examination.



Non-payment of Rs 328-crore tax demand
IT dept recovers Rs 43 cr from CHB
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The income tax (IT) department today recovered at least Rs 43 crore from different bank accounts of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) during its ongoing account attachment drive over the non-payment of a tax demand of approximately Rs 328 crore.

Of the total recovery today, at least Rs 30.5 crore was CHB deposits with the Oriental Bank of Commerce, Rs 3.9 crore with the Axis Bank, Sector 35, Rs 1 crore with the Allahabad Bank, Sector 8, and Rs 8 crore with a bank yet to be named, reliable sources said.

The amount recovered today was besides the Rs 21 crore recovered on August 14. With this, the total amount in the ongoing recovery drive stood at Rs 64 crore.

The department had issued demand notices to the CHB in December last for dues for 2007-2008. These were on account of its multi-crore deal with the Parsavnath Builders, that had made the board richer by Rs 815 crore.

The accounts were attached on orders of the Commissioner, Income Tax (Appeal), Sonali Arora, after she rejected the CHB appeal and upheld the amount fixed by the assessment officer.

The total CHB tax liability for 2007-2008 was said to be approximately Rs 328 crore. Notices were issued subsequently without any tax payment.

The CHB had been opposing the attachment of property, saying it was a part of the UT administration and was exempt from taxation by the Union under Article 289.

The IT department had been arguing that the CHB was a separate entity and liable to pay tax. In the land transaction under question, the CHB had netted approximately Rs 815 crore.



Board has everything to lose
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
One “glorified” housing scheme of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) in collaboration with realtor Parsavnath has rendered the board almost cashless. About two years ago, the IT department had served a noticed on the board to pay up Rs 328 crore as income tax on an amount, which incidentally the board never had in its account.

The department had calculated the tax after adding the amount of Rs 821 crore which the CHB was supposed to get from Parsavnath.

Not many years ago the board had around Rs 500 crore in its kitty as fix deposits in banks, which will be reduced to a paltry Rs 86 crore if the board pays the entire amount of tax of Rs 328 crore.

It was in 2005 when the UT Administration allotted nearly 123 acres to Parsavnath for a commercial and housing project near the IT park for Rs 821 crore. However, the realtor only paid Rs 517 crore. Later when the scheme ran into controversies, the administration sealed the escrow account of the CHB and the realtor, which had Rs 517 crore.

Board sources claim that recently the CHB had received a letter from the ministry of home affairs (MHA), questioning the board why Rs 517 crore had not been deposited with the Centre’s consolidated fund.

The MHA had sought a reply from the board and following this reprimand, the board was quick to deposit Rs 272 crore in the fund.

The sources claimed that the administration had alreadly burnt its fingers after depositing crores, which it received as fee under the conversion policy into the consolidated fund of the Centre, and it never got anything in return from the Centre.

So to avoid a similar situation, the administration made the CHB the nodal agency in the Parsavnath deal and later when the realtor refused to sign an agreement with the CHB, overnight the land was transferred to the CHB for a mere Rs 18 crore.

The sources claimed that after the escrow account was sealed, which had the amount which the board had received as payment from Parsavnath, the board had to spend funds from its own kitty towards the small flat housing scheme. The scheme was supposed to be funded by the funds from the CHB-Parsavnath collaboration.

HC to take up plea

Following the recovery of funds from the CHB on account of the non-payment of taxes, the CHB has filed an urgent appeal in the High Court which will come up for hearing tomorrow



Patil skips mega projects in I-Day speech
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The controversies surrounding the UT administration’s much-hyped mega projects appears to have taken their toll on the ceremonial Independence Day speech of Punjab governor-cum-UT administrator Shivraj Patil.

By keeping mum on the projects, including Education City and IT Park, Patil gave a good enough indication that Raj Bhavan did not want to be dragged into the issue that had kept the administration on its toes during the past several years.

His silence on Education City and IT Park is not surprising as land acquisition for the latter project is under the scanner of the Arun Ramanathan committee that was appointed by the home affairs ministry. The Education City project is also facing rough weather in the backdrop of certain allottees crying foul over the terms and conditions of the land allotted to them.

Sources said the governor’s speech focused on “positive” aspects of development as he talked about new initiatives in the health and education sectors. He laid emphasis on new projects in GMCH-32 and GMSH-16 and the launch of the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan and the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan in these two areas.

While Patil avoided mention of the controversial Medicity, he also surprisingly skipped the IT Park project, dwelling primarily on the administration’s IT foray “for the common man”. There was also no mention of the city’s IT exports that jumped from Rs 91 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 823 crore in 2009-10.

The IT Park is already providing direct employment to over 12,000 people and almost thrice that number is being indirectly employed, Pail claimed.

However, the luxury Prideasia project of Parsvnath and the Chandigarh Housing Board was given a miss by the governor.

The sources said Patil’s omission of the now-scrapped Film City and the Amusement Park was understandable given the controversies surrounding the projects with both having come under the CBI scanner. Propriety demanded the projects should not have been mentioned in his speech.

On the other hand, there was no justification in omitting Education City as this is the only project that did not evoke any major controversy and was touted to be aimed at attracting the best in the academic field to the city.



Registration of Property
Collector’s rate goes up again in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 16
Owning a residential or commercial property in Mohali is going to be expensive from tomorrow. The cash-starved Punjab Government is going in for another revision of collector’s rate, six months after the rates were hiked.

A hike in the collector’s rate means that the buyer of a property would have to pay more fee as stamp duty that is levied on every property transaction registered with the office of the Sub-Registrar.

For men, the stamp duty was 8 per cent of collector’s rate and for women it was 6 per cent. With a proposed hike of about 15 per cent, registering the sale deed of a kanal plot would mean paying a stamp duty of around Rs 5 lakh against Rs 4.4 lakh earlier.

For a 10-marla plot, the hike in stamp duty would be around Rs 30,000. Similarly, a showroom would now cost the purchaser dearer by Rs 1 lakh.

The revision was a result of instructions from the Punjab Financial Commissioner (Revenue) to hike the collector’s rate, a benchmark for the sale and purchase of property. Mohali Deputy Commissioner Parveen Kumar said the rate would be decided after a meeting tomorrow.

Following a feedback from the revenue officials concerned, the administration is learnt to have proposed to hike the rate by around 10 per cent in rural areas and by 15 per cent in urban areas. The role of black money in property transactions would be considerably reduced following the hike and would net more revenue for the state exchequer, officials stated.

The administration was keen to increase the collector’s rate in rural areas that have recently witnessed land acquisitions with compensation rates touching Rs 1.5 crore. “While the collector’s rate was abysmally low, the land compensation rates were much higher,” an official remarked.

It was in February that the administration had hiked the collector’s rate in urban areas from Rs 10,000 per sq yard to Rs 11,000.

What it means

With a proposed hike of about 15 per cent, registering the sale deed of a kanal plot would mean paying a stamp duty of around Rs 5 lakh against Rs 4.4 lakh earlier. For a 10-marla plot, the hike in stamp duty would be around Rs 30,000. A showroom would now cost a buyer Rs 1 lakh more



Murder witness turns hostile
Deceased’s mother devastated
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The about turn by Surinder Sharma, an eyewitness in Deepak’s murder, shocked Roma Rani, the deceased’s mother, as Surinder was her relative.

On August 11 last year Vijay alias Tunda and Batisha alias Parmatama allegedly stabbed Deepak to death outside the home of Sharma, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony. However, the latter today stated in the court of additional district & sessions judge Gurbir Singh that he had not seen anything and was not present when the incident took place.

After Sharma turned hostile, Roma, also a Bapu Dham Colony resident, was shattered when he retracted his statement, recalling the cordial relations she had with him.

Pleading for justice, Roma, a scrap dealer and mother of seven sons and two daughters, said Deepak was the only breadwinner in the family. She said all her other sons had deserted her except for him, adding Deepak had even financed his sister’s wedding.

“We knew Surinder for years. Both my daughters used to tie a ‘rakhi’ on his wrist. He was like a brother to them. I’m shocked to see him turn hostile. My son used to spend most of the time at his house in Bapu Dham Colony. Now he has taken a bribe and has turned hostile,” Roma lamented.

Tears rolled down her cheeks and she began hitting herself out of grief. Seeing nothing was going in her favour she rushed downstairs and moved an application in the court stating the eyewitness had turned hostile.

Deepak, who was 23 when he was murdered, reportedly had an altercation with Batisha and Vijay in June 2009. During the heated argument he accidentally fractured Vijay’s arm, because of which the latter had been nursing a grudge against the deceased.

On August 11, 2009 Vijay stabbed Deepak to death outside Sharma’s house. The latter, who was an eyewitness in the incident, however turned hostile today.

Vijay was arrested on April 11, 2010. The police traced the other suspect, Batisha, on August 27, 2009. According to the cops, he has six to seven cases of attempted murder registered against him.



Mohali resident may have H1N1
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 16
A patient suspected to be suffering from swine flu has come to the notice of the officials of the health department here today.

Dr PK Sridhar, civil surgeon, said the patient was a female and lived in Sector 71 here. She was admitted in Prime Hospital. The rapid response team of the department had met the patient and took samples which were sent to the PGI for testing. The result would be available within 24 hours. He said the medicines and vaccines were available which would be supplied according to requirement. He said earlier two patients from other stations had got admitted in Fortis and members of the rapid response team were in touch with hospital authorities there in this regard. An isolation ward had been set up in the Civil Hospital here and even in hospitals at the block as part of the arrangements made in connection with swine flu, added Dr Sridhar.


31 complainants taken up at public hearing session
Patil releases booklet prepared by Ram Niwas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Punjab Governor-cum-Chandigarh Administrator Shivraj Patil gave a sympathetic hearing to 31 complainants, which appeared in today’s public hearing session.

He took serious note of the complaint of Kamla Kaushik, widow of a Flying Officer, and asked the Home Secretary to give a notice in writing to the government employee who occupied her rented accommodation to vacate the accommodation, failing which her allotment of government house would be cancelled.

Responding to the complaint of Anju Kumari, whose husband died in harness, Patil ordered the payment of compensation as per rules at the earliest to her. In another complaint, Pyare Prashad said depot holder Vipin Kumar was not giving him rations. The Administrator asked the Deputy Commissioner to examine the matter.

On the request of Veena Devi, a handicapped employee with Prayaas, Patil asked the Home Secretary to ensure regular payment to employees. Patil assured a deputation of senior citizens that the administration would take care of their demands.

Later, Patil released the booklet ‘How to become a good citizen’, prepared by Ram Niwas, Home-cum-Education Secretary, to educate students on basic 
moral values.



Patil lays stress on health, education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Chandigarh administration marked the 63rd anniversary of the independence of the nation by organising a flag-hoisting function at the Parade Ground in Sector 17.

Punjab Governor-cum-Chandigarh Administrator Shivraj V Patil unfurled the National Flag, inspected the parade and took salute at the marchpast.

Addressing the state-level function, Patil reminded the gathering of the sacrifices made by martyrs and freedom fighters for the independence of the country.

Speaking about the development activities undertaken by the administration, the Administrator said, “Health and education sectors continue to engage our undiluted attention. This year, the new OPD at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, will be commissioned. We intend to launch the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha (RMS) Abhiyan shortly to make quality education affordable and accessible to children in the age group of 14 to 18 years.”

He further said, “Providing accessible and easy interaction of the people with the government has been a major priority through the e-governance programme. This year, we will like to add 10 new e-sampark centres to the city. We will shortly have a state service delivery gateway, which will help the people of Chandigarh to apply for services through the use of e-forms.”

The celebrations were marked by various cultural events by schoolchildren of GMHS, Sector 28-D, Saupins School and KBDAV, Sector 7. Contingents of the CRPF, the Chandigarh Police, the Punjab Armed Police, the Haryana Armed Police, the Chandigarh Home Guard, the Civil Defence, the Chandigarh Fire Service, NCC boys and girls, the Scouts and Girls Guide, school children and the Chandigarh Police and Brass Band took part in the marchpast. The overall best parade trophy was won by the Chandigarh Police and handed over to parade commander BS Negi, DSP (Traffic).

I-Day highlights

l New Sec-16 GMSH OPD to be commissioned this year

l RMS Abhiyan to make education accessible

l IT exports touch Rs 823 crore in 2009-10

l About 2,000 more CHB flats soon

l Southern sectors to get special attention

l Sukhna Lake and Rose Garden to be rejuvenated

l State-of-the-art police control room to be set up

l Comprehensive mobility plan of Metro to be sent to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation

Cops awarded Administrator’s police medal

Sub-inspector Parveen Kumar, SI Kulvir Kaur, ASI Mahi Pal, constables Kuldip Singh, Sat Pal and Kartar Singh

Govt employees/members of public awarded

Bhupinder Singh, Dr Vidhur Bhalla, Sanjay Daniel Banerjee, Rajiv Tiwari, Chaman Lal Gupta, Kanwal Jit Kaur, Neena Singh, Amarjit Kaur Dhillon, Harpreet Singh, Amandeep Singh, Gurminder Singh, Dev Dutt Sharma, Himani Sood, Vipin Kumar, Devinder Pal Singh, Billu, Rajbir, Shiv Charan and Raju



Mayor wants more funds for MC
Says unauthorised colonies to get basic amenities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Chandigarh administration should allocate necessary funds to the municipal corporation (MC) for the departments which have recently been transferred to it, said Mayor Anu Chatrath here yesterday. She was addressing the 63rd Independence Day celebrations after unfurling the National Flag at the MC building at Sector 17.

She stressed the need for more funds for the proper functioning of the departments, including primary education, primary healthcare, V-3 roads and big parks and green belts. She said the corporation had been chalking out a plan for recruiting staff for these departments.

Talking about development, Chatrath said Chandigarh had been adjudged first by the Union Ministry of Urban Development. It scored 73.48 points and was in the blue colour code category on the basis of a national rating survey data on city sanitation.

She said for bringing transparency in the functioning of the MC, the e-tendering system had been successfully introduced. Elaborating on proposed projects, the Mayor said foundation stones of community centres at Sectors 48 and 49, including a swimming pool, were laid and work would commence shortly.

Work on providing basic amenities like drinking water, streetlights and footpaths at unauthorised colonies would be undertaken shortly, she said. There was a proposal of constructing a marriage palace in a southern sector and the plan for development of Pocket 8 at Mani Majra, with a sports complex and a marriage palace, was at the final stage, she added.

The Martyrs Pillar at Terraced Garden, Sector 33, would be completed shortly and Sector 17 was all set to have a musical fountain and a laser show, she said. For improving water supply in the city, the corporation was undertaking a project for thew replacement and augmentation of trunk-brick sewer pipes under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission, for which a Rs 114-crore proposal had been submitted to the Centre, she said.

On the occasion, the Mayor and MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria honoured families of martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for the security and integrity of nation. These included Balbir Kaur Brar, Savita Rana, Jaya Babbar, Jasbir Mahil and Kanta Lakhanpal.

The corporation also honoured its employees for meritorious service. These included fireman Amarjit Singh, medical officer (health) BK Sharma, junior engineers Harjinder Singh and DK Kashyap and horticulture supervisor Madan Gopal Rana. The Mayor and the MC Commissioner earlier planted saplings at the MC office compound.



GMADA yet to receive 1.23 lakh applications
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 16
As time is running out for the proposed schedule to hold the draw of lots for Aerocity, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is yet to receive 1.23 lakh applications from the State Bank of India (SBI). The total number of applicants in the housing scheme was around 3 lakh.

While all 18 other banks have submitted their applications in ascending order as sought by GMADA, the State Bank of India (SBI), the main bank that handled the scheme, was running behind schedule in processing the applications. Sources said the bank authorities had so far processed about 80,000 of the total applications and it could take another few more days before the reconciled lists were forwarded to GMADA.

NK Sharma, the Chief Manager of the Ram Darbar branch, the nodal branch for the housing scheme, said all applications, along with the reconciled list, would be sent to GMADA in the next four days. Compared to other banks, SBI has to handle a large volume of applications.

Representatives of certain banks told The Tribune that the delay was largely due to revised instructions issued by GMADA on July 19 to submit the applications in ascending order. “Had GMADA told us earlier to forward the applications in ascending order, the delay could have been checked,” said a bank official.

GMADA’s chief administrator VP Singh said the issue had been taken up with the SBI. “The bank authorities have promised to forward the details at the earliest,” said the CA while adding that GMADA proposed to complete the draw of lot in September. The refund to the unsuccessful applicants would begin in October.

The list of successful applicants, whose name would be included in the draw of lots, would be displayed on authority’s website and the applicants would be given some days to file their objections, if any.

As per the details in GMADA’s brochure, the earnest money would be refunded to the unsuccessful applicants within 90 days from the date of draw of lots or 180 days from the date the scheme closes. For the period beyond 180 days, GMADA would pay interest at a rate of 5.5 per cent per annum. 



Zila parishad poll
Rajesh of Cong elected chairman
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 16
Setting speculations at rest, Rajesh Kumar and Champa Devi -- both from the Congress -- were unanimously elected chairman and vice-chairman of the zila parishad, respectively, here today.

This is for the first time that a member of the zila parishad from Pinjore has been elected chairman of the parishad. Earlier, members from Barwala got elected to the prestigious post.

The election was conducted by Sanjeev Verma, Additional Deputy Commissioner, through secret ballot. All members were present during the elections. Eyebrows were being raised over the way former Congress MLA Satwinder Rana was reported to have brought some members along with him.

Though one Ajaib Singh, a strong contender for the chairman’s post, did not object openly, he immediately left the meeting after signing the register.

Earlier, the tug of war was seen between the members of the parishad as several candidates staked their claim for the post of the chairman and the vice-chairman. The election was initially scheduled to be held on August 11, but was postponed for today as not even a single member was present on that day.

Out of the total 10 seats (wards) the Congress had won seven in the rural parts of the district while the INLD bagged the remaining seats in the keenly contested polls held recently. Rajesh Kumar had won from Ward No. 1, defeating his nearest rival by 304 votes, while Champa Devi was elected with 2,789 votes.

Mahesh Kumar from Ward No. 2, Preeto Devi and Ramesh Kumar from Ward Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, were supported by the Indian National Lok Dal. Vimla Devi (Ward No 5), Ajaib Singh (Ward No 6), Veena Singla (Ward No 7), Jeet Ram (Ward No 9) and Fom Lal (Ward No 10) were among those who were present during the voting.



Slow progress in labrador ownership case
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 16
Dispute over ownership of a three-year-old labrador, which has become bone of contention between a businessman and a retired Colonel, has made little progress as the police has recorded the statements of the two parties.

Sources said the police was not in a hurry in deciding the case as both parties were influential. A senior police official said a police team had requested the family of the businessman several times to provide details, including the names of their witnesses in Khanna who had gifted them the labrador, but to no avail.

Investigating officer Malkit Singh said he had recorded the statement of the businessman and one of their witnesses and would soon record statements of more persons who were connected with the case.

Complainant businessman Pradeep Sharma, a resident of Sector 12-A, had alleged that Col Gurnek Singh Toor (retd) had stolen his three-year-old pet. He had also alleged that Toor was helped by a senior IAS officer, Vimal Chandra, from Haryana, presently working as the MD of Sugarfed, to hush up this matter.

The police on the directions of the local court had registered an FIR against Toor, his wife and son, all residents of Sector 12.

Besides Chandra, Toor had named Harinder Singh Aulakh, secretary of Chandigarh Kennel Club, Anterpreet Singh Toor, veterinary doctor from Chandigarh, and Narinder Dhillon, a resident of Sector 12-A, as witnesses in the case. Presently cops had given the possession of the labrador to the Toors.

Pradeep had claimed that black-coloured labrador ‘Marshal’ was gifted to him by his in-laws, presently residing in Khanna, in February 2007. He alleged that on February 22, the dog went missing from outside his house at 6.30 am, but on March 4 he had found Marshal inside the premises of Colonel Toor. However, Colonel Toor had claimed that the labrador is their ‘Leo’ and Sharmas were harassing them without any reason.



No rainwater harvesting in Mohali
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 16
In the last four years, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and the Punjab water supply and sanitation department spent a whopping Rs 6 crore on augmenting Mohali’s storm water network so that private property worth lakhs of rupees was not damaged after rainwater entered houses.

The problem persisted in some areas. But over the years, GMADA never bothered to chalk out a strategy to recharge the fast-depleting groundwater. Instead of spending the huge amount on some of the major works to check flooding, GMADA could have installed about 100 rainwater recharge wells as well as adopted other measures to recharge the groundwater level.

Water supply and sanitation department officials said about 40 per cent of the tubewells supplying water to residential areas had become non-functional due to the falling water table. Out of 71 tubewells, only 28 were working. Not a single tubewell was functioning in Phases II, III-A, III-B2 and IV.

The peak demand of water in summer was 23 million gallons per day (mgd) against the availability of only 13.2 mgd. The city was getting only 10 mgd of water from Kajauli waterworks and the rest was being supplied from tubewells. With Mohali’s master plan extending up to 123 sectors, the demand for water is going to increase manifold.

Public health executive engineer HPS Dhillon said the shallow tubewells could be recharged through rainwater. During the peak season, the same water could be used to irrigate the public parks and green belts maintained by different government agencies.

GMADA sources disclosed that during the tenure of GMADA chief administrator Krishan Kumar, some resident welfare associations had sought rainwater recharge wells to conserve the ground water. However, after a few meetings, the issue never saw the light of the day.

Experts pointed out that as per the rainwater harvesting potential of Mohali, with an area of 51 sq km and average annual rainfall of 1,000 mm, was 11,223 million gallons. Apart from checking flooding of residential areas, the effort could go a long way in checking the depleting aquifers. Around 100 rainwater recharge wells had been recommended from Sectors 55 to 71. Due to the well-laid system of underground drainage in the city that carried a major part of storm water, the water could be tapped to capture a major portion of rainwater. The areas suggested for rainwater harvesting included roads, roundabouts, all green belts and public buildings.

Badal’s keenness goes unheeded

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has been advocating need to harvest rainwater at all public functions and in official meetings so that dependency on canal water can be decreased. On the CM’s insistence, GMADA has planned rainwater harvesting measures in Aerocity. However, no attention is being paid to the already urbanised part of Mohali



Protest march by senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Members of the Chandigarh Senior Citizens Association today held a silent protest against the non-implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act across the country.

Around 100 senior citizens of the tricity participated in the protest and marched in small groups wearing black patches on the chest in Sector 17. The march culminated at the Punjab Governor’s residence where they submitted a memorandum for onward transmission to the Prime Minister.

Members of the association said they were demanding that there should be uniform implementation of all old age schemes. In most states, the governments were not properly implementing Central schemes pertaining to health, pension and security of senior citizens.

They complained that no government was taking any initiative to make senior citizens aware of the welfare plans proposed for their benefits. Referring to the Indira Gandhi Old Age Pension Scheme, they said not many people were aware about its benefit.

Even the states had not conducted any survey to identify below the poverty line senior citizens through which they could learn how many persons were availing of the scheme.

They said the Union Government had not proposed any comprehensive scheme for old people. They said there was need for such a scheme as there were over 10 
crore senior citizens in the country. 



Awareness on vector-borne diseases
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 16
In order to create awareness about vector-borne diseases, an anti-malaria workshop was organised at the State Health and Family Welfare Centre in Sector 6 here today.

Dr Narveer Singh, director-general, Health, directed officials to spread awareness. He said even though most of the areas in the state were waterlogged, the health department was able to control the disease in an effective way.

Dr Singh said according to a notification issued by the Urban Local Bodies Department, Haryana, in May last year, action could be taken against those whose water tanks were not found clean. He said under Section 214, the authorities could impose a fine up to Rs 2,000 and still if the person failed to clean the tank, he could be fined Rs 100 per day.

Dr RS Sharma, Government of India, Prof RK Rathon, professor and head, department of virology, PGI, Chandigarh, Dr Harsh Mohan, head of the department (pathology), Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, were among those who attended the workshop.



United colours of freedom
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula, August 16
Agriculture Minister Parmvir Singh unfurled the National Flag to mark the 64th Independence Day at parade ground in Sector 5 here yesterday.

A march past by men and women contingent of the the Haryana Armed Police and NCC cadets was held. A PT show and cultural programmes by school students were also held. He announced a grant of Rs 51,000.

Parmvir said the state government had initiated various schemes for the freedom fighters and their dependants. He said their pension was increased from Rs 1,400 to Rs 6,000 per month.

However, the minister forgot to take up problems of residents. He also honoured 32 persons, who excelled in education, sports and other fields.

A two-day holiday was declared for cops and a one-day holiday for schoolchildren.

Students of Manav Mangal School, Sector 11, were adjudged first for their presentation on the freedom movement and valiant soldiers guarding the borders, while Janainder Public School Sector 1, stood second for their presentation on the unfortunate incident that occurred on November 26 in Mumbai.

Students and staff of Kendriya Vidyalaya No 1, Chandimandir Cantt, celebrated the 64th Independence Day with great zeal on Saturday. Principal Bhupinder Kaur urged students to channelise their energies in a proper way. Songs like “Vijayee vishwa tiranga pyara “and “Hum balak hindustan ke” were sung by students.

DAV Senior Public School celebrated the Independence Day. School principal Anjali Marriya presented the vote of thanks. Students also presented cultural programmes.

Students Hansraj Public School paid their tributes to the martyrs through poems and a skit. Cultural programmes were also held. Principal Jaya Bhardwaj hoisted the National Flag, while students did a march past.

The Independence Day was celebrated with zeal at Blue Bird High School on Saturday. The programme started with the hoisting of the National Flag by director principal R Bhatnagar.

Senior and junior wings of Satluj Public School celebrated the day with enthusiasm. Students presented cultural programmes, including a group song followed by quiz, patriotic dance, declamation contest, solo-singing competition, solo-dance competition, fancy-dress competition and a patriotic play.

The Independence Day was celebrated with zeal at St Xavier’s School. Principal George S Shear unfurled the National Flag. A quiz was held.

Patriotic fervour marked the Independence Day celebrations at St Vivekanand Millennium School, Pinjore. Piyush Punj, president, SMC, unfurled the National Flag.

MOHALI: Remembering the supreme sacrifice made by the martyrs, State Transport Minister Master Mohan Lal unfurled the National Flag at the Mohali district-level function organised at Government College in Phase VI here yesterday.

Chalking out the course of development by the Akali government in the last three years, he said over 1,000 new buses had been added in the fleet of the PRTC and Punjab Roadways.

The entire record in the offices of the District Transport Offices had been computerised. On the occasion, student of different schools of Mohali presented a colourful programme. Deputy Commissioner Parveen Kumar and SSP GPS Bhullar were also present on the spot.

The Minister honoured Dr Tamana, Dr Ranjeet Randhawa, Bhupinder singh, Sukhdev Singh Gill, Manjeet Singh Kumbhra, Sandeep Kaur, Ranjinder Singh, Nirmal Gupta, Satosh Sohugra, Balwinder Singh, Dr Rama Rattan, Seema Arora, Jagdish Singh, Narinder Kaur, Kanta Devi, Vijay Kumar Gupta, Sandeep Singh, Harbant Singh, Devinder Singh, Sukhdeep Singh, Hardeep Singh Bhatlana, Rupinder Singh, Akinder Singh Gosal, Nirmal Singh, Jaspreet Singh, Balbir Singh, Pawan Kumar, Kuldeep Chand, Gursharan Singh, Sanjeev Kumar for their services in different fields.

The cops who were honoured on the occasion were Vimal Kumar, Narinder Kumar, Bhupinder Singh, Ajiab Singh, Haminder Singh, Satish Kumar and Ram Darshan.

Ambala: The 64th Independence Day was celebrated at MM University, Mulana.

Tarsem Garg, Vice-Chancellor, Mulana University, unfurled the National Flag.

He said, “The freedom, which we all are enjoying today, is the outcome of the sacrifices made by freedom fighters.”

Students must follow the ideology of great personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawarharlal Nehru, Bhagat Singh and Bal Ganga Dhar Tilak, he added.

Later, students presented patriotic songs and speeches. Tiny tots gave a dance performance. Students of the art and craft department made rangolis.

Meanwhile, DHDSD Public School celebrated the Independence Day. AK Gupta, chief general manager, BSNL, Ambala, was the chief guest on the occasion. A colourful cultural function was organised with a welcome song “Sabse pyara gulistan hamara”. Students gave a dance performance.

Neelinderjit Kaur Sandhu, principal of the school, apprised students about the importance of the day.

The Independence Day was celebrated at various educational institutions in Ambala City on Sunday.

A cultural function was organised at DPS School. Principal Bushra Abuja hoisted the National Flag. She spoke on the contribution of great martyrs who laid down their lives for honour of the country. Students presented patriotic poems. Tributes were paid to martyrs. 


DERA BASSI: Mismanagement marked the Independence Day function organised by the tehsil administration here. The change of venue of function before hoisting of the National Flag caused harassment to the participants. Students of different schools, who had been preparing for different events, could not perform properly. This venue of the function scheduled to be held in the ground of Government High School, Dera Bassi, was changed to Community Centre. The chairman of zila parisad, Satnam Singh, complained of being humiliated by the district administration officials. He alleged that he had gone to attend the Independence Day function and met SDM Puneet Goyal and tehsildar Gurmander Singh. They did not provide him with a chair and, therefore, he walked out of the function.

On the other side the Civil Hospital staff organised a simple and well managed function in the hospital premises on the eve of the Independence Day



Sukhna endangering several houses

Kalka, August 16
The Sukhna in Kalka is endangering more than 25 residential houses situated on both the banks of the river. A visit by the Tribune team to ward no. 4 of Kalka revealed that the swift flow of water in the river (due to the heavy rains in Himachal) has already washed away two houses and a historic Water Bawri behind Thakur Dwara Mandir adjacent to Kali Mata Temple, which has created a panic among residents of the locality, as the water has entered into several houses.

More than three retaining walls, which were constructed in 2008, have already been swept away. Residents said a delegation of house owners had recently met Kalka SDM and sent letter to Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, seeking appropriate safety measures. They said Kalka SDM was to visit the spot on Wednesday last, but nothing happened so far. They said the local administration had called tenders in 2009 to construct more retaining walls . — OC



New ambulance van for NGO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Life Line, an NGO working for the unidentified and unattended patients at the PGI, inducted a new ambulance van at the Sarai Complex of the PGI here today.

The NGO had been operating at the PGI for the last 10 years. It had been maintaining three ‘sarais’ and a night shelter at the PGI.

Ravinder Gupta, president of the NGO, said they had been maintaining eight ambulance vans, including two mortuary vans.

This van was donated by Satish Bagrodia, a trustee of the NGO. The keys of the van were handed over to Medical Superintendent Dr Anil Gupta.



History relived
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, August 16
A Punjabi play “Amar Katha” was staged by Adakar Manch, Mohali, at the Randhwa auditorium here today.

Well-acclaimed playwright, actor director Dr Sahib Singh had sculpted the play from three short stories written by eminent Punjabi litterateur and journalist Gulzar Sandhu, former editor Punjabi Tribune.

In fact, the literary prominence of Gulzar Sandhu and theatrical expertise of Sahib Singh coalesced to create and present the emotion packed saga of the sufferings of those who bore the onslaught. Be it the forced Partition of 1947, Delhi riots in 1984, terrorism in Punjab or militant activities in the country, the play eloquently built a visual language voicing the lament that cruelty, brutality and injustice had become recurrent in society.

Based on Sahit Akademy award winning short story Shaheed, Din Deevin Lutt and Bijuwda written by Sandhu at different periods, the play brought alive the harmony, mutual brotherhood of two communities sharing the common traditions and rituals.

The forced Partition and the aftermath which shattered the ethical and humanitarian belief of protagonist Noora who rose from a destitute Muslim to a rich Sikh businessman Naurang Singh only to be finally massacred as Naurangi Lal. The playwright had structured the play with rich comedy sequences only to augment the element of pathos otherwise prevalent in the play.

While the lyrics by Jaswinder and background musical score by Jatinder Shah was the lifeline of the play, the sets, too, were symbolic and functional. However the acting spells by Preet Kamal and Dr Sahib Singh as Noora Rajinder Rosy, Baninderjeet Singh, Harman Pal played main roles. Gulzar Sandhu complimented the artistes.



Cake trouble for student leaders
Enter girls hostel number 6 for celebration
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The bid to woo voters has landed Panjab University student leaders and two security guards of the girls hostel in trouble.

On Saturday night (August 14), the PU authorities received a complaint that a leader of the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) had entered the girls hostel 6 (Sarojini extension) to deliver cakes.

A girl of the same hostel received the cakes and two security guards knew about it.

The PU authorities have now sought a report on the matter from the hostel warden and chief security officer of the university.

The issue came to light when a supporter of the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), who resides in the same hostel, saw the girl going out of the hostel. The party supporter then called up Dean Student Welfare Naval Kishore to inform him about the incident at midnight.

The Dean warned the hostel staff. Although the university authorities denied to have suspended two hostel staff members, including a male guard and a female attendant, there were rumours in the hostel on Sunday about their suspension. One of these hostel staff members was reportedly present on duty today.

“We have already asked the hostel warden to submit a report in the case. We will not take the issue lightly and if a security lapse is found, strict action will be taken,” said Kishore.

Speculations are rife that a SOPU supporter called up the authorities out of sheer rivalry with PUSU. When a PUSU supporter in the girls hostel was questioned, she replied that it was her birthday. During a conversation with this reporter today, some other residents of the same hostel said they were told that the party was thrown to celebrate the Independence Day.



PhD aspirants boycott test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The inability of the PEC University of Technology to inform PhD aspirants about the syllabus of the entrance examination led to a protest on the campus today. This, along with inadequate information on the official website of the institute regarding the exam, added to the confusion, students claimed.

In a press note, certain PhD aspirants claimed that in the civil engineering department, five out of nine candidates, including a senior railway manager of Ambala division, boycotted the entrance exam.

“PEC should have informed about the syllabus in advance. The website had confusing information such as mentioning the mode of entrance would be “interview and/or exam”. Also the students must be tested on exactly that subject, in which they have done masters degree and in which they wish to pursue PhD,” said the manager on the condition of anonymity.

Another student, who has done her ME, was asked to take the entrance exam of the civil engineering department though she had specialisation in environment engineering.

“Aspirants also claimed that the questions of the test were not from the relevant field of doctoral studies of interest,” said the student, who had topped her master’s entrance exam earlier, but is now being denied admission in PhD.

The candidates claimed that they were informed about the test only after reaching the campus today. They said the candidates who appeared for the exam were declared pass and were later interviewed.

“Even the full-time non-sponsored candidates were made conditionally eligible and asked for GATE score which is not required as per eligibility conditions in the brochure,” another PhD aspirant stated.

The PEC director, Manoj Dutta, was not available for comments. However, a senior official, on the condition of anonymity, said the new guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) could not be properly scrutinised and should have been comprehensively studied before being implemented.



From Schools

Patriotism pervades city schools

Chandigarh: Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector42, celebrated the 64th Independence Day with great fervour and enthusiasm. Principal of the college Mani Bedi unfurled the National Flag and addressed the gathering comprising faculty members, non-teaching staff and students. She exhorted students to work hard for unity and integrity of the country. Students of the college and NCC cadets presented patriotic speeches and songs.


Students and Staff members of AKSIPS, Sector 41, celebrated the Independence Day with great fervour and patriotic spirit. Jasdeep Kalra, executive director, unfurled the flag and stressed the need to honour the sacrifices of freedom fighters.

St Anne’s Convent School

Students and the teachers of St Anne’s Convent School, Sector 32, celebrated the Independence Day. Father Thomas Anchanical, manager of the school, led the flag hoisting ceremony. He motivated students to treasure the freedom which was achieved with great sacrifices of the freedom fighters. Students presented various dances and songs imbibed with patriotism.The function concluded with principal Sister Felicia congratulating students and teachers.

Mount Carmel

The Independence Day was celebrated at Mount Carmel School, Sector 47-B, on August 15. Contingents of the four houses and scouts&guides of the school led by the school cabinet members did a march past. student members of the Social Science Club presented a show masquerading as freedom fighters. After this students of classes III and IV presented a medley of the songs. — TNS



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