C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Elderly woman robbed at Sec 61 home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
In a daring daylight robbery a sexagenarian woman was tied up and robbed of cash and jewellery worth Rs 2.5 lakh in her Sector 61 home by her newly employed maidservant accompanied by two unidentified youths around 10 am. Savita Devi, 65, later told the police the maid was hired only six days ago but her family had not got her antecedents verified by the cops.

The traumatized woman told the police she was alone at her first-floor home when her maid, who had identified herself as Sonia, a resident of Colony No 5, called two young men, said to be in their mid-20s, to her house. Her son, Rajiv, and daughter-in-law Jyoti, had left for work at around 9:30 am while her two granddaughters had already gone to school.

Finding Savita alone at home, Sonia, who was wiping the floor earlier, made a phone call asking someone to come there immediately. Within no time the two youths arrived and tied her with a rope after entering the house. They gagged her with a piece of cloth, warning her of dire consequences, and began ransacking the almirahs. Savita told the cops she told the robbers not to cause any harm to her and take away whatever they wanted to.

In the meantime, Sonia went out and locked the house from outside while the youths bolted the door from inside. After taking away gold ornaments valued at about Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 10,000 in cash they made a phone call saying they would come from the backyard of the house. They fled after scaling the boundary wall of the house.

After a while Savita raised an alarm and, hearing her cries for help, her neighbours soon assembled there.

The Sector 36 police station SHO said the victim suffered no injury and was taken to a hospital for a checkup and was later discharged.

The victim told the police about six days back she noticed Sonia wandering in her locality looking for some work. She said Sonia told her the enforcement staff had demolished the latter’s hut in Sector 25 and she had shifted to Colony No 5 with her two minor children and was in desperate need of work. Won over, Savita employed Sonia as a part time domestic help.

Cop’s son among 3 arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The son of a woman constable of Chandigarh Police is among three youths arrested over the last two days for their alleged involvement in over a dozen cases of snatching.

The accused have been identified as 25-year-old Palwinder Singh of Sector 39 and son of constable Gurmail Kaur, 19-year-old Sahil Sharma of Sector 37 and 19-year-old Mandeep Singh of Sector 40.

Gurmail Kaur is posted at the Sector 39 police station. She had got the job on compassionate grounds following the death of her husband, a head constable.

Palwinder Singh is unemployed while Sahil is a Class XII student in a private school. Mandeep could not pass Class IX. The police has recovered 15 mobile phones and two motorcycles from the accused, which they used in committing the crime.

DSP (Crime) Satbir Singh said the accused were drug addicts and had recently formed a gang to carry out the snatchings mostly in southern parts of the city, apart from Sector 22. They would put tape on the registration plates of the motorcycles.

The police has impounded a Bajaj Platinum motorcycle (CH 04 L 2382) from Sahil and a Bajaj Discover motorcycle (CH 04 B 5744) from Palwinder.

They were produced before a local court, which remanded them in police custody till October 29. Their interrogation led to the arrest of their third accomplice, Mandeep, who was apprehended from Sector 40 today. He would be produced in court tomorrow.

The DSP said more cases of snatching were likely to be solved during the sustained interrogation of the accused. “So far they have admitted to having committed 15 incidents of snatching,” he said.



Armed college students go on rampage, 3 hurt
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 25
Sword-wielding students of the Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Landran campus today let loose a rein of terror in the town’s Phase 7 market today evening when they attacked fellow students. Three people including two of their college mates were injured in the assault.

The youths, brandishing swords and ‘lathis’ (sticks), chased the victims in broad daylight for a few metres before the latter, who received injuries, took shelter in a shop.

Two of the victims, Gurlabh and Antariksh, both third semester BTech (Mech) students of the college, suffered injuries inflicted with swords and ‘lathis’. The third victim, Mohinder, who was passing by received a bullet injury in his thigh. Police suspect the assailants fired at the victims while fleeing the scene. All the three injured have been admitted to the Civil Hospital in Phase 6.

While the police tried to play down the issue by saying it was a “minor issue”, shopkeepers in the market lamented the incident occurred despite the cops being present. “Such incidents create a sense of insecurity among residents”, they said.

The incident occurred at about 4 pm when seven boys including two of the victims were having their lunch at the ‘rehri’ (pushcart) market in Phase 7. Soon after they finished their meal a car full of boys reportedly led by one Jeevanjot attacked them. While five of the boys escaped from the scene, the assailants got hold of Gurlabh and Antariksh and hit them with swords and ‘lathis’.

To save themselves the victims then entered a shop. The assailants had to give up when customers present there came to the victims’ rescue. Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said raids were being conducted to nab Jeevanjot and his accomplices.

DSP City-I Raka Ghera said the “lawlessness created by the youths wouldn’t be tolerated at any cost”. A case of attempted murder under the Arms Act has been filed at the Matour police station.

Enquiries reveal the group of boys led by Gurlabh had a scuffle with the assailants in the college campus few days ago. But due to intervention by seniors, both the warring factions had decided to reach a compromise. Today, the meeting for the patchup had been fixed at the Phase 7 market. This is the second such incident in the market in which a violent clash between rival groups occurred.



Hike in VAT
Kitchen budget goes for a toss
Medicines, sweets also to cost more
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
It’s bad news for parents, housewives, patients and sweet lovers. With the UT Administration finally deciding to hike value added tax (VAT) from 4 to 5 per cent, the kitchen budget is set to get upset with the prices of skimmed milk, vegetable oils, milk powder, utensils, tea and spices slated to rise.

The bad news does not stop here. Even medicines, hosiery goods, plastic footwear, paper, school bags and toys are set to go up. The hike will come into effect the moment the revised VAT is notified, which is expected later this week, Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh said.

Of immediate interest is the slated hike in sweets and dry fruits with Diwali round the corner. Sweets were earlier not listed under ‘Schedule B’ articles for which the UT Administration had first proposed a hike last September. Whether by design or by default, the administration’s timing of the hike is expected to add to its annual revenue earnings.

The hike in VAT brings the UT on a par with Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. The increase in tax will be extended to items in Schedule B of the Punjab VAT Act as applicable to Chandigarh, but will not cover declared goods.

It has also been decided to exclude “poultry and aqua feeds and their feed supplements” from VAT.



Sightless chip in to lighten up homes
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
“I can’t see the candles and ‘diyas’ (earthen lamps) that we make, but I know these will light up many households during Diwali. The very thought gives me immense satisfaction,” said 13-year-old Shubham.

The young girl, who is visually impaired, has been getting special education and vocational training along with many other such children at the Institute for the Blind located in Sector 26. Making wax candles and earthen ‘diyas’ are some of the things they have been learning to make.

Even as destiny kept these children bereft of sight in their lives, these young individuals are toiling against odds to bring a sparkle to homes during the ‘Festival of Lights’.

Making various kinds of wax candles and earthen lamps is not a new thing for these inmates, but the spirit of these visually impaired youngsters is really commendable. Though they themselves cannot visually experience the joy and thrills of festive lighting, the satisfaction they derive from their work is writ large on their faces.

Sixteen-year-old Ramdai, who has blurred vision, said many people who come to buy these items also bring gifts and chocolates for them. “Their praise for our work and the affection they shower on us is the most precious thing for us. We can’t see the light of the candles and ‘diyas’ but I know these would give happiness to many children like us on Diwali,” she added.

Ramdei, who hails from Simla, proudly said she also takes candles and ‘diyas’ made at the Institute to her home every year. “For my mummy, papa, ‘bhaiya’ (brother) and ‘didi’ (sister), these are the most valuable things on the occasion”, she remarked.

Another inmate, Rohit, 18, who is partially blind and comes from Fazilka, said the “job” of making Diwali items was very dear to him. “The items prepared by us light up several homes in the area, which means these candles and lamps connect us with society in a proud way. ‘Mujhe achha lagta hai ki hamare diye aur mombatti logon ko khushi dete hain’ (I feel good that our earthen lamps and candles give happiness to people),” he stated.

KR Sood, honorary secretary and principal of the institute, stated the inmates make these “Diwali related” items worth about Rs 2 lakh every year. “The money earned from their sale is spent on the welfare of the inmates,” he said, while adding that apart from industrial houses many residents of the area especially come to purchase these items.



Sanction pangs plague CBI
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Proceedings in cases of corruption and misuse of official position registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against employees of the customs and central excise, BSNL and Chandigarh Police have hit a roadblock as the departments concerned have not given approval for prosecution.

The CBI is waiting for the approval of sanction from the customs and central excise department for initiating proceedings of filing a chargesheet against MS Puri, former Additional Commissioner, Customs and Excise, posted in Ludhiana. The CBI had initiated the process of seeking sanction against the accused on June 7.

The DIG (CBI), Mahesh Aggarwal, said four cases were pending sanction for prosecution from these departments. “The authorities are being requested to expedite the same to establish an environment of accountability,” he said.

Similarly, prosecution sanction is pending with the BSNL against SK Aggarwal, former general manager, BSNL, posted in Ludhiana. The proceedings against PL Bhardwaj, former Protector of Emigrants, Chandigarh, are stuck since April 30 this year. The case of Nirmal Singh, a Sub-Inspector of Chandigarh Police, is also hanging fire since August 12.

Investigating officers of the CBI say the cases keep piling up for years due to want of sanction for prosecution from the department concerned.

“The CBI had taken up the issue with the Chandigarh Police and requested it not to complete department probes against tainted officers caught by the CBI in graft cases since the accused can manipulate the inquiries and later use them as evidence in their defence, hampering the CBI’s probe,” a senior police officer stated.



Ayurveda needs a holistic approach: Patil
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 25
There is a need to adopt a holistic approach to strengthen and popularise ayurveda, as the ancient system of medicine has its own significance, said Shivraj V Patil, Governor, Punjab, and Administrator, Chandigarh, while addressing participants at a seminar on Bhartiya Swasthya Chintan here today.

He said the Indian system of medicine, like ayurveda, unani, sidha and homeopathy, had the potential to provide an effective solution to health problems. But there was a need to make people aware of the traditional system of medicine in India and take steps to further promote research and development.

Stringent drug quality control measures in the field of ayurveda could help to reduce dependence on the modern system of medicine. He stressed upon a streamlined linkage between traditional knowledge, modern science and technology.

Patil, who addressed participants from eight states, said allopathy was popular in urban areas, while ayurveda was still being used by people from rural areas. Competition should not be created in allopathic and ayurvedic systems of medicine but efforts should be made to improve and develop both the systems, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Health & Family Welfare Minister, said Punjab had adopted a multi-pronged approach to promote ayurveda. Adequate manpower was provided and various facilities as required under AYUSH programme were being strengthened. She said Punjab had already held three Arogya Mela’s in the past and would be the first state to hold the fourth one in December in Amritsar.

She said ayurveda, homeopathy and allopathy were being provided under one roof for the convenience of patients who could opt for the treatment as per their choice.

Dr Rajiv Bindal, Health Minister, Himachal Pardesh, also addressed the gathering . He said such a Swasthya Chintan had earlier been held in Shimla too, which was very fruitful. He spoke about the various facilities being extended by the Himachal Government under the AYUSH programme.

Satish Chandra, Principal Secretary, Health, Punjab, informed about various steps taken by the government to streamline the AYUSH programme. He said various vacant posts of vaids had now been filled and the required staff under other categories had also been recruited. 


Karva Chauth
Fasting delicacy
Special thali for PU girls
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Women get henna applied to their hands on the eve of Karva Chauth in Chandigarh on Monday.
Women get henna applied to their hands on the eve of Karva Chauth in Chandigarh on Monday.Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, October 25
Tagged at Rs 35, a special “sargi” thali, will be served to girls at Panjab University hostels on the eve of Karva Chauth, the most fervently celebrated festival on the campus!

In what has now become an annual feature at PU girls hostels, the special thali will consist of plain parantha, aloo sabzi, pheniyan and mathi and will be served by canteen workers during early morning hours.

Such is the fervour and intensity of celebrations on the campus, that a “katha” is held every year in hostel lawns, where all girls gather in the evening.

Both married and unmarried girls could be seen applying heena on their palms today. Certain others preferred to walk up to the Sector 15 market to get their palms coloured.

“There are a lot of girls on the campus, especially in hostels, who are married and for them it is convenient if the “sargi” is served to them in the hostel itself. Unmarried girls, too, observe fast and it is not possible to go out at 4 am and the system of getting “sargi” in hostel is a blessing for them,” said Richa, a research scholar and resident of girls hostel 1.

In a customary practice, on the day of festival, girls are dressed in vibrant colours and visit the temple on the campus.“With the onset of festive season, most PU hostel residents prefer going home, but this time, the girls stayed back due to the provision of “sargi” in hostel,” added Ranjeet, another hostel resident.



BBMB celebrates vigilance week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Bhakra Beas Management Board today celebrated vigilance week at the Central Vigilance Commission’s instance for the 11th consecutive year. A programme in this regard started with the Bhakra Beas Management Board Chairman, AB Agrawal administering the pledge to the officers and officials of Bhakra Beas Management Board.

This was followed by a half day vigilance awareness interactive session in the forenoon, which was arranged and conduced by the HRD wing headed by GS Wason.

Chairman, Promod Kumar, Punjab governance reforms commission in an informative talk on generation of awareness and publicity against corruption, enlightened the employees of Bhakra Beas Management Board.

About 100 officers and officials of BBMB participated in the seminar and rededicated themselves to fight against corruption.



Govt bans sale of ketamine
May soon be covered under the NDPS Act
Anuja Jaiswal/TNS

Chandigarh, October 25
In a significant but a belated decision, the Government of India has finally banned the open sale of ketamine drug, a veterinary anesthetic, which had gained notoriety as a ‘date-rape’ drug.

Once the government’s decision is notified, the drug, which hitherto was being sold and exported with ease and not much restriction, will be covered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

According to sources, the government has acceded to the request of the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB), which had been pursuing for the ban on the drug for quite some time. The sources claimed that in absence of the drug being covered under the NDPS Act enforcement agencies, including the NCB, were finding it difficult to put a check on its sale and distribution.

Significantly, sale of Ketamine drug is banned in many countries and its illegal possession attracts heavy penalties, including a jail term up to 14 years. Since there were no such restrictions on it in India, the drug, which is in high demand in several countries, was being exported with several websites on the Internet offering supplies.

A senior NCB official told The Tribune that once the ban is notified, its illegal possession will attract penalties extending to 10 years in jail.In addition, an offence under the NDPS is non-bailable and the drug dealer’s property could be attached.

The popularity of this drug as a “party drug” can be gauged from the huge amount of seizures made by the enforcement agencies. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had seized 247 kg of ketamine in 2007-08 and this figure doubled to 574 kg in 2008-09. In 2008-09, apart from DRI’s seizures, other agencies seized nearly 599 kg, taking the total tally in the last fiscal to 1,173 kg. Most of these illegal consignments were seized in south India, especially Chennai, and were bound for Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.

The sources said abuse of Ketamine, essentially a veterinary anaesthetic but also used in medicines for human in pain management, could result in “out-of-body” and “near-death” experiences. The substance is widely used at rave parties, especially in the party circuit in east and Southeast Asian countries, where it is banned. The substance costs around Rs 30,000-Rs 35,000 per kg in India, but is sold abroad for anything between Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per kg.



Mother Express arrives in city
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
“Mother Express”, an exhibition train showcasing the life and works of late Mother Teresa, was accorded a rousing welcome on its arrival at the city railway station here today.

As the train reached platform No 5, hundreds of people, including students from various schools of the tricity, waved hands, showered flower petals and sang hymns to welcome the train. The welcome ceremony was led by nuns of the congregational order founded by Mother Teresa.

Bishop Ignatius of Shimla-Chandigarh Diocese inaugurated the exhibition as a tribute to the nobel laureate on her birth centenary at the station.

The train consists of three air-conditioned coaches, where life-time charity works of Mother Teresa, have been displayed to highlight the selfless service rendered by the great soul to the cause of humanity.

Commentary on Mother Teresa and songs written on her are also being played inside the coaches.

After a two-day halt, the train will proceed towards its next destination-Ambala on October 27.

The exhibition was visited by schoolchildren, teachers, members of the Christian community, priests from Bishop’s House of Sector 19, nuns from St Anne’s School, St Stephen’s School and St John’s School.

Before the start of the exhibition, Bishop Ignatius cut the ribbon to declare the exhibition open and spoke on the works of Mother Teresa and thanked the Indian Railways for organising the event. 



Misplaced priorities dog admn, MC working
Basic infrastructure crying for attention, particularly in southern sectors
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Misplaced priorities continue to dog the working of the Chandigarh administration and the municipal corporation (MC). Even as basic infrastructure, particularly in southern sectors, continues to cry for attention, the authorities concerned seem to be going ahead with projects which may not be beneficial to residents in the immediate future.

With mega projects on the way out following alleged irregularities in the allotment of land, questions are being raised at the choice of the current projects being undertaken by the administration.

“The administration seems to be having a lopsided vision of development. The whole focus seems to be on already developed sectors and stepmotherly treatment is being meted out to southern sectors,” alleges Satish C Sharma, general secretary of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council.

Residents complain that while the administration is spending crores on projects like new parks, sprucing up of the Sukhna lake, modernisation of Sector 17 and setting up a butterfly park at Sector 26, the provision of basic amenities leaves much to be desired.

The maintenance of roads, sewerage system and bus queue shelters and the creation of other infrastructure, even in northern sectors, speak volumes about the working of the MC and the administration.

“The administration’s first priority should be the provision of basic amenities to residents and other projects can wait,” asserts Satnam Singh of Sector 19.

Union Tourism Minister Selja had laid the foundation stone of the garden of conifers at Sector 52 and the garden of palms at Sector 42. Southern sectors, particularly Sector 48 onwards, woefully lack civic amenities.

“There are hardly any dispensaries, bus queue shelters, post offices or e-sampark centres in these sectors. While setting up of parks can wait, residents first want basic amenities. With more people shifting to cooperative group housing society flats, the situation isd going to be worse in days to come as there will be pressure on existing infrastructure,”says Ashwani Sharma of Sector 48.

Senior Deputy Mayor Bhupinder Singh Badheri rues that the MC and the administration have been giving a raw deal to UT villages, which contribute significantly to the exchequer.

Officials claimed that development in all parts of the city is high on the agenda. “Since development of infrastructure takes a long time, southern sectors will soon catch up with northern areas as development has been initiated,” says a senior official.



Sec 63 Housing Scheme
CHB mulls cut in tender period
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
In an apparent bid to make up for the inordinate delay in allotting tenders for the Sector 63 General Housing Scheme, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) authorities are now mulling to reduce the tendering period from six months to one.

The scheme floated in 2007 has not yet taken off. Bidders for the said tenders, too, have started pulling out. In routine, the tenders are to be processed and allotted in six months. However, the Sector 63 housing scheme announced in 2007 was marred by controversies and tenders were called only in May this year.

The proposal to reduce the time frame is due to come up for approval in the meeting of the Board of Directors of the CHB scheduled for tomorrow.

A contractor said on the condition of anonymity: “We are required to give a bank guarantee along with earnest money which is valid only for six months as per norms. The bank guarantee would lapse in November and we are not in a position to go through the process all over again in case the tenders are called afresh.”

The first hurdle the scheme faced was in 2008 when the Punjab government had staked its claim to a chunk of land adjoining Mohali. The land was mistakenly included in the housing scheme in the absence of proper demarcation of the land.
Later, the UT architecture department raised objections to the layout plan and faulty design of the flats under various categories. More coverage was being given to the floor area ratio for constructing more than the required flats, leaving less space between various blocks and absence of greenbelt. Besides, several openings on the V-3 road were another irritant as only one opening is allowed under rules.

Due to the objections, the board was forced to revise the layout plan. However, in the backdrop of the land dispute with Punjab, the board was forced to increase the floors to six instead of the advertised four.



Draft master plan likely by December, HC told
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The issue of renaming city streets is under the UT administration’s scanner. Chandigarh’s master plan committee, in some 20 meetings held so far, has deliberated upon the feasibility of renaming streets and the problem of parking in commercial areas.

Among other things, it has also looked into the catchment area of the Sukhna lake at Saketri, heritage buildings of the city, policy for growth and cheap housing accommodation. The Chandigarh administration gave information to this effect to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In an affidavit, Chief Architect Sumit Kaur also asserted that the draft master plan was expected to be ready by December. For the purpose, the administration had constituted a committee, comprising experts, including the Chief Architect, the Chief Engineer, retired Chief Architect MN Sharma and Architect-cum-Development Planner Madhu Sarin. The details were placed before the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ajay Tewari.

In the meetings of the master plan committee on the future planning of the city, developments in the north of Chandigarh and its periphery were also discussed, along with re-densification of certain areas of the city. The existing building bylaws and guidelines, including those of villages, were discussed. The committee had also held meetings with stakeholders, including residents’ welfare associations, hotel industry, coal depot association and transport association.

The co-ordination committee for the development of Chandigarh had suggested the preparation of an integrated inter-state regional plan within a year. It was also decided that the committee of secretaries would undertake the work of integration and would be associated at each and every stage of development of these plans and the committee of Chief Secretaries and the UT Adviser would meet every quarter to oversee the progress.

During a recent meeting, the Secretary (Urban Development) underscored the key issues, including “development of master plan for Chandigarh and integration of master plans of Mohali and Panchkula with Chandigarh, along with regional plans of adjoining areas in Punjab and Haryana”.

The Punjab Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, said the state had prepared master plans for seven towns falling in the peripheral areas. In addition, regional plan for the greater Mohali area had also been developed. It was added that a comprehensive mobility plan for Chandigarh and a detailed project report for a Chandigarh metro had been prepared.

The Haryana Chief Secretary said the present road connecting Panchkula was very congested and hence there should be a parallel road which should not only connect Panchkula, but also provide connectivity to the airport and the railway station.



Why the Mayor’s hurry, that’s the question
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Questions are being raised on the urgency of the Mayor sharing the report of councillors who had gone to Gangtok and Kolkata on a study tour with the media on the day some councillors returned from a study tour to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

Instead of compiling a combined report, Mayor Anu Chatrath said as the tour was headed by Senior Deputy Mayor Sheela Phool Singh she should be doing the job. This was the first time a tour report was being given to the media before it was tabled in the House.

Refuting the allegations of visiting Nepal with the councillors, the Mayor said the Opposition was trying to politicise the issue without having any concrete proof. A majority of projects in the Gangtok study were either under actiove consideration or had been rejected by the municipal corporation.

The delegation proposed landscaping in internal parts of markets rather than the parking lots. Asked about water harvesting, the Mayor replied that there was no major water harvesting system at Gangtok.



Rathore to spend Diwali behind bars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Former Haryana Director-General of Police SPS Rathore, behind bars in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case, will spend Diwali in the Burail jail as his petition for parole will be taken up on November 8.

His case could not make much headway in terms of time required for filing replies. He sought parole to cultivate 15 acres as his son, putting up in Mumbai, was not in a position to look after the land.

Taking up his plea, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a notice of motion to Haryana and other respondents for October 26.

In his petition, placed before Justice RC Gupta, Rathore’s wife-cum-counsel Abha Rathore contended that the family owned about 15 acres at Badhaur village.

The land, the petitioner contended, was irrigated by a tubewell and the cultivation was being carried out under Rathore’s supervision for a decade.

He had been growing rice, potatoes, wheat, fruits and other foodstuff. It was added that Rathore’s was not in good health after incarceration.

Justice Jitendra Chauhan had upheld the conviction and enhanced the sentence of 18 months handed over to Rathore. The Judge had asserted: “Physical lust makes a man blind; and even though it is a momentary lapse of morality which shuts down the reasoning ability of a man, the consequences are disastrous, as has already been seen in the present case. A man possessed by physical lust cannot see anything beyond his immediate target.”

The stern observations came in response to arguments put forth by Rathore’s counsel on “improbability and impossibility of the act of molestation”. Justice Chauhan asserted: “In so far as the improbability of the alleged act is concerned, suffice it to say that when the allegations are pertaining to an act of physical molestation, the analogy that whether the same could have been attempted by a sane man is of no relevance.”



Textbook scam report today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 25
The inquiry report into the textbook scam, ordered by the Punjab School Education Board, is expected tomorrow.

It has been learnt that the inquiry has been marked to an outsider to avoid influence from within office.

The board had suspended Ram Lubhaya in connection with the publication of 20 lakh computer science textbooks based on old syllabus.

He had reportedly not intimated the director academics and other officials concerned about instructions received from CDAC, Mohali, on December 19, 2009, not to publish the textbooks till the syllabus was revised.

The issue came to light last Tuesday, when the board authorities received a CD of the new syllabus, along with a letter from the CDAC, mentioning the previous letter.

The board authorities found that the subject expert did not bring the letter on record, due to which textbooks worth Rs 5 crore were published.

The first semester examination had been conducted in September as per the old syllabus and the anomaly not pointed out.

Sources in the board said Ram Lubhaya had been made a scapegoat as he was an expert in a vocational subject.

Director academics Pavitar Pal Kaur had washed her hands off the issue, saying she was not holding charge when the print order was given.



Festival season rush
Parking chaos dots P’kula
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Vehicles parked on the road in the market of Sector 7, Panchkula, on Monday.
Vehicles parked on the road in the market of Sector 7, Panchkula, on Monday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, October 25
Come festival season and there is utter chaos in various markets of the city as the Town and Planning Wing of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) failed to plan for sufficient parking place in most markets and public offices of the township.

The visitors and the traders in these markets are facing traffic snarls as HUDA and the traffic police choose to look the other way.

Though market places in various sectors of the township have turned into important commercial hubs, the parking blues at these places is causing inconvenience to visitors.

Even though the Sector 11 market association has hired the services of private security agency for smooth flow of traffic in front of the showrooms, the Sector 7 and 9 markets being the most popular hangout, the roads surrounding the two market places and the miniscule parking space here remain jam packed throughout the day. With traffic moving bumper-to-bumper at both these market places, especially in evenings, it requires skilful dodging by a commuter to pass through the area.

There are a number of offices and shops, besides some educational institutions and eateries in Sector 7. If the morning witnesses the student and office goers’ rush, the afternoon and evening get the rush of shoppers and those visiting the eateries.

Mamata Kohli, one of the residents of Sector 9, said in view of Karva Chauth to be observed tomorrow, she had gone for getting henna applied on her hands in Sector 7 this afternoon. She said when she came back 3 to 4 cars were parked behind her car and she had to wait for about half an hour to move out of the area.

BB Kochchar, president of the Market Welfare Association, Sector 7, said earlier they had taken up the matter with HUDA and the municipal council authorities.

But now they had engaged services of about 12 personnel from a private security agency, who directed the visitors to park their cars in marked areas only so that other commuters passing through the area did not feel any inconvenience.

Some of the residents, including Chaman Lal Arora and Rajesh Shukla residing in front of the market, said shoppers parked their vehicles in front of their houses and they got stuck in their houses as they could not move their vehicles out. Same is the situation during late evenings as they can not park their vehicles in front of their houses.



Allow mining in 5 hectares, crushers’ body urges state
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 25
Irked over the blanket ban on mining in riverbeds in the state, the Stone Crushers and Screening Plant Owners Association (SCSPOA) has urged the Haryana government for allowing mining in five hectares, which doesn’t need environment clearance.

Rajinder Gupta, president, SCSPOA, in a memorandum submitted through Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar to Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda here today, said no other state, including Punjab, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, had implemented the 2006 notification, issued by the Central government, banning mining in river beds. He said mining could be done only after getting environment clearance in this regard.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court last year allowed mining in the state without environment clearance till February 28 as a stop-gap arrangement so that the development projects and construction activities were not hit.

However, the state government failed to get environment clearance from the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

It sought another extension for one year from the high court, but Deepak Kumar, a resident of Gurgaon, opposed the plea and told the court about his pending petition in the Supreme Court in this regard.

Gupta said the government should allow mining in five-hectare stretch, which doesn’t require environment clearance from the state or the Central government. He said that those involved in stone crushing business, especially the labour class and truck and tractor trolley owners, have been unemployed for the past eight months.

He said the ban had also taken its toll on the construction activity in the district, with both realtors and the common man feeling the pinch of hike in the input costs of sand and grit. He said the stone crushers in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh were doing a brisk business as they were supplying the material in Haryana areas.



CAT orders relief for reverted retiree
Wants recruitment rules for anti-malaria officer to be amended
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
In an unprecedented order, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has directed the health department to amend the recruitment rules for the post of anti-malaria officer.

The directions have been given while pronouncing orders in the case pertaining to reversion of HC Gera from anti-malaria officer to entomologist-cum-parasitalogist, claiming it to be manipulated.

Pronouncing the orders, the tribunal said, “Reverting the applicant from the promotional post, for which he had been drawing salary throughout, and denying him pensionary benefits in lieu of these services rendered by him for 25 years, is not justifiable. The entire fault cannot be attributed to the applicant at such a belated stage, when the Government of India has categorically emphasised that if sufficient candidates are not available with requisite qualification, a candidate with BSc in biological science with at least 10 years of field experience in insect-borne disease control may be considered suitable for the post.”

The tribunal stated that the impugned order of reversion of the applicant was hereby quashed and set aside for being arbitrary and having been passed in violation of principles of natural justice only a few days before the retirement of the applicant with a motive to debar him to get pensionary benefits of the promotion post.

The tribunal further mentioned that the orders had been passed keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances in this case and the same might not be taken as a precedent.

The applicant, HC Gera, working as biologist-cum-anti-malaria officer, had stated in the application that he was appointed assistant entomologist and the post was changed to that of entomologist-cum-parasitalogist. The Government of India had issued instructions for filling up the post of anti-malaria officer by way of promotion in 1972, 1982 and 1985.

In 1984, the applicant was promoted to biologist-cum-anti malaria officer for six months on an ad hoc basis and this promotion was further extended for another six months on an ad hoc basis up to May 10, 1985.

He was notionally reverted in 1986 with retrospective effect, but was again promoted on an ad hoc basis with effect from May 12, 1985. Thereafter, no order of promotion was passed but the applicant continued to work on the said post as the respondents did not take any steps to frame new rules or fill the post as per 1974 rules.

In May, 2010, he was reverted to entomologist-cum-parasitalogist on the grounds that he had manipulated his continuance on a promotion post. The applicant was scheduled to retire on May 31, 2010. He was reverted from Group B to Group C.

In its reply, the health department said the appointment of the applicant was never regularised till date and his substantial post remained entomologist-cum-parasitologist.



CBI observes vigilance week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The Central bureau of Investigation (CBI), Chandigarh, is observing a vigilance week from today onwards till November 1 following instructions issued by the Central government.

The Central government has directed all departments to spread awareness about the vigilance week among people.

The aim of the vigilance awareness week is "Generation of awareness and publicity against corruption".

The week started with a pledge by Mahesh Aggarwal, DIG, CBI, Chandigarh, to all CBI employees directing them to work for eradication of corruption in all spheres of life.

Lectures would be organised in association with other departments to spread awareness about vigilance and anti-corruption measures being taken by the CBI, Aggarwal added.

Aggarwal also said that the CBI received several complaints and source information regarding corruption in various UT and Central government departments. The CBI had also requested the Central government departments in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to display notices mentioning the particulars of the offices of CBI, Central Vigilance Commission for lodging complaints against corruption.

He requested people to pass information to the CBI regarding corruption at the CBI control room- 0172-4332100, 4332145 or file a complaint with Superintend Police, CBI, anti-corruption branch, Sector 30.



150 attend national integration camp

Chandigarh, October 25
“Youth are the pride of any nation. Youth empowered with moral and spiritual values can become the light-house for a nation.”

These views were expressed by BK Amir Chand, national vice-chairperson of the social service wing of Braham Kumaris, while interacting with 150 youths from Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, and Chandigarh, who were in the city to participate in the week-long national integration camp (NIC) organised by Nehru Yuva Kendra at Rajyoga Bhawan in Sector 33 here today. He said youth should use their will-power and strength for better India. — TNS



Ways to tackle traffic discussed

Chandigarh, October 25
The Chandigarh Administration today decided to implement certain decisions taken at the two meetings of Adminstrator’s Advisory Council (AAC) with a view to better governance to residents.

At a review meeting under the chairmanship of adviser to the UT Administrator, the departments concerned were asked to make efforts to make city capable of meeting the demands of citizens and handling traffic problems. Sources said the recommendations of the committees of the AAC regarding maintenance of basic infrastructure of city were also discussed.— TNS



‘Soch’ gets off to flying start
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
At the inaugural ceremony of annual media fest of Panjab University Soch-2010, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti today urged students to ponder over the deeper meaning of the name of their event.

The fest is being organised by the School of Communication Studies.

Sobti said aspiring communicators needed to develop an objective approach.

On the first day of the event, war on Da Walls (graffiti), the first event of the day based on the theme “Art Attack”, saw around 11 participants. Around 82 participants took part in Spin Da Yarn competition (creative writing), 14 participants took part in wagging tongue, where each individual was given two minutes to give commentary on a mute video, “Out of the Box” was the theme for “click-click” (photo feature) and yet another event was selling ice to eskimos (AdMad).

As the fest progressed on to the last event of the day-dancing shoes, the stage was taken over by Ayushmann Khurrana, ex-student of the School of Communication Studies, PU, who sung songs like “Wo Lamhe” and “Aadat”.



Snag in server harries UGC aspirants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
On the last day of submitting bank receipt for the online application of National Eligibility Test (NET), applicants faced a harrowing time due to technical hitch in the server of certain banks in Sectors 17 and 22.

Bank officials said the “server had developed some technical snag”, as 11,000 applications had been received on Saturday.

Adding to the woes of these applicants, who initially faced a harrowing time filling in online forms of NET, applicants had to run from pillar to post to seek extension of the deadline for the submission of bank receipt.

The last date for submission of the form is November 1.

“We first went to the SBI in Sector 17, where we were told that the server had developed some technical snag. Since Friday was a holiday, on Saturday banks accepted money till 12 noon, and the next day was Sunday, we had a tough time submitting our fee today.

We then rushed to the Sector 22 branch of the SBI, where we were told the same thing.

We were left in a lurch and the receipt was not accepted,” said Natasha, a lecturer in a local college and a NET aspirant.

“When we contacted the UGC coordinator at Panjab University, we were told that nothing could be done about the problem or extension of the deadline. We were told that our plea would be forwarded to the UGC. The problem has ruined our career,” she added.



Protest by PU students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Almost a month after the student poll, Students Organisation of India (SOI) and Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) held two separate protests outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

SOPU today protested against the improper conduct of examination and unsatisfactory evaluation of a chemistry supplementary examination.

Students of the departments of geology, physics and bio-physics gathered outside the VC’s office to raise the issue of “mercy chance in chemistry subsidiary” and alleged that their answerbooks were not evaluated by teachers who taught them and were checked by a research scholar instead.

Students also claimed that a few questions were unmarked and they were made to sign the answersheets by a re-employed teacher, who was enjoying additional three years of service.

Students said the teacher asked them to sign the answersheets and later refused to evaluate those. The Dean, student welfare, assured students that the matter would be taken up seriously. SOPU members said if justice was not delivered to students, they would sit on a hunger strike. 



Book on librarians out

Chandigarh, October 25
Satinder Kaur Ramdev Memorial Trust for Advancement of Librarianship (SATKAL) organised its annual function at the ICSSR Complex, PU, today. Late T R Bajaj, deputy librarian, PU, was given Satkal’s lifetime achievement award. The best woman librarian award was conferred on Ashu Shokeen, head, department of library and information science, Kurukshetra University. A book “Librarians as Knowledge Workers in the 21st Century” edited by MP Satija was released. — TNS



UGC seminar on global environment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Considering the global threat to environment, the Science Association of MCM DAV College for Women, Chandigarh, will organise a UGC-sponsored two-day national seminar on “Global Environmental Issues and Climate Change” on November 9 and 10.

Experts from different fields from the country and other places like New Zealand and Nepal will deliberate on these potent issues concerning both present and future generations.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder, Art of Living, will deliver the inaugural address.

Keeping its tradition of out-of-the-box thinking which reiterated itself with the success of its interdisciplinary regional seminar on “Blending Boundaries - Science” across different disciplines last year, the science association will deliver a different seminar this time.

Dr PK Srivastava, associate director, Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, would address the gathering at the inaugural ceremony. Delegates include Dr Ram Boojh Yadav, head of the United Nations Environment programme in India, General VP Malik, former Chief of the Army Staff, and others.



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