C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ultimatum to temporary liquor vends
Pay up dues or face sealing, says MC
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Cracking the whip against 24 temporary liquor shops functioning from municipal owned property, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) today served a 48-hour ultimatum on their owners to pay the outstanding amount of about Rs 1.2 crore, failing which the vends would be sealed.

A resolution to this effect was unanimously passed at the monthly MC house meeting today. Wine shop owners have been asked to deposit the outstanding amount with interest to avoid facing action.

The MC House also decided to suspend allotment of these wine shops from the next financial year. Mayor Anu Chatrath directed MC officials to inform the UT Administration that effective next financial year, the MC would not permit liquor vends on its land in the city.

Raising the issue, Congress councillor Jatinder Bhatia wondered why no action had been taken against “habitual offenders” by the authorities. He expressed surprise that no audit objections had been raised against the violators who had been bidding for the allotment of the liquor vends for the past three years.

MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria said earlier the civic body could not take action against violators in the absence of any records. However, the MC had now handed over a list of violators to the UT excise and taxation department for the recovery of rent.

A majority of councillors objected to the opening of a large number of temporary liquor vends in various areas which in turn had sent the message that the authorities were promoting alcoholism.

Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla suggested that instead of permitting liquor vends in every nook and corner, the MC should rent out its booths in markets to avoid chaos around temporary liquor vends. He claimed that this would help enhance the revenue of the corporation because the rent of the booths was much more than that of temporary vends which was around Rs 50,000 a month.

Objecting to the exemption of 24 per cent commercial property tax to liquor vend owners, Congress councillor Ravinder Pal Singh suggested that they should also be brought under the ambit of commercial tax.



HC quashes notification on Panchkula MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Just over seven months after Haryana turned the Panchkula municipal council into a corporation by bringing in Pinjore and Kalka under its jurisdiction, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today quashed the notification.

At the same time, the Division Bench of Justice MM Kumar and Justice AN Jindal made it clear that development schemes for the area would not be hampered with the quashing of the notification. The Bench added that the funds allocated to Panchkula under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission would also not go un-utilised. Such schemes would remain in operation.

Handing down the orders this morning, the Bench asserted that the notification dated March 17 was a contravention of the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution and also the Haryana Municipal Act.

The 73rd and 74th Amendments, passed in 1993, devolve a significant amount of power over the social sector and development planning to local level governments. The amendments aim at reforming the local government.

Justice Kumar said the state government would be at a liberty to issue a fresh notification after following the procedure. The state, vide the impugned notification, had not only declared the council a corporation, but had also made 42 villages, along with reserved and protected forest area, a part of the urban area.

The state government, while notifying the creation of the corporation, had appointed the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner corporation commissioner in addition to his duties.

Three writ petitions were filed challenging the constitutional validity of Haryana’s decision on setting up the Panchkula MC comprising Kalka, Pinjore and Panchkula.

Representatives of almost all political parties had filed these petitions, arguing it was against the provisions of Section 243-Q of the Constitution.

The petitions were initially admitted by the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Jasbir Singh and placed before Justice Kumar’s Division Bench for final adjudication.



Admissions near, but quota policy not in place
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The UT Administration’s much-publicised self-claimed commitment towards economically weaker section (EWS) students seems to be headed for yet another showdown. While most private schools plan to start the sale of admission forms for primary classes in the last week of November, the administration is yet to frame rules or policy for the right to education, even six months after it came into effect.

The Act, which makes education a fundamental right, mandates private schools to reserve 25 per cent of seats for the economically weaker sections and disadvantaged communities. Private city schools, however, plead helplessness in the absence of clear-cut guidelines.

“We are ready to admit all such students but how do we do so? The Act was implemented in April and it was decided that the UT would identify eligible candidates and issue EWS certificates so that the Act is not misused. “They were supposed to form a committee and draft the guidelines but nothing has been done so far. We cannot delay the admission process because of this,” Independent School Association president HS Mamik said.

The DPI (Schools), PK Sharma, said: “The Central government has given a broad framework of the Act but we have to design our own guidelines and norms. We will do so by next week and then submit it to the UT Home Secretary who is expected to forward it to the Centre.”

One of the major bones of contention among UT schools is the economics of the Act. As per the Act, the administration plans to pay a uniform subsidised amount of money to effect admission to all schools. However, all 18-odd private schools affiliated to the Independent Schools Association have refused to accept a uniform payment, saying that it is not justified in view of the varying academic and infrastructure standards of all schools.

“You cannot have five-star food at the rate of street stalls. When the academic and infrastructure standards vary from one school to another, how can the fee be the same? Had it been two or three seats, we would have managed. But it is about 25 per cent seats. How will we pay our teachers and maintain infrastructure with such a paltry amount? We cannot hike the fee of other students for these students,” Mamik stated.

What the Act says

  • The Act makes it mandatory for every child between the ages of 6 and 14 to be provided education by the state. This means that a child does not have to pay a single penny towards books and uniform
  • Any time of the academic year, a child can go to a school and demand that this right be respected
  • Private education institutions have to reserve 25 per cent of their seats starting from Class I in 2011 to disadvantaged students. No seats in this quota can be left vacant.



No respite from smoke, noise likely this yr, too
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Expecting to live up to the slogan “say no to crackers” this Diwali? Chances are you will end up inhaling smoke this time too. For, the UT administration is set to renew a total of 480 licences for the sale of crackers in the city alone, considerably higher than the number in neighbouring Panchkula.

Of the 480 licenses over 360 have already been renewed and another 120 are in the process of being renewed. In Panchkula the district administration has renewed 57 licenses out of a total 150. These include those issued to six wholesale dealers.

The UT administration, which had sometime ago notified the timings for use of firecrackers in the city, has banned them in the earmarked silence zones. According to a recent order bursting crackers in the city has been prohibited between 10 pm and 6 am. Despite this annual ritual of banning crackers in silence zones and limiting their timings in other parts of the city, bursting of crackers continues unabated.

Silence zones

  • Sector 1 (capital complex including Rajendra Park & Chandigarh Club)
  • Sectors 12 (PGI) & 14 (PU campus)
  • Entire area around Sukhna Lake up to 100 meters from the high water mark
  • Entire area northeast of Uttar Marg including Rock Garden & Lake Club
  • 100 metre radius around hospitals, educational institutions, courts & places of worship.

Admn gears up for trouble

With Diwali less than a week away, the UT administration is also getting ready to tackle any untoward incident during the festivities. Home secretary Ram Niwas said plainclothes policemen would be deployed in every market to check incidents of chain snatching. There will also be round-the-clock patrolling by cops in PCR Gypsies and bikes in different areas of the city. Footage from CCTV cameras installed at various locations will be monitored more closely to keep a tab on activities.



Three vendors waylaid, robbed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
A group of eight youths armed with swords, rods and blunt weapons robbed three persons of Rs 1,000 and documents by waylaying them at Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26 on Wednesday night.

Shon Mohammad, a vegetable vendor, told the police that he was returning home around midnight when he was waylaid along with two other vendors identified as Raj Pal and Ashok Kumar.

He alleged that two youths of the colony stopped them on the pretext of enquiring about something and soon, a group of youths armed with swords, rods and blunt weapons joined the duo. They threatened to kill them and asked them to hand over whatever they had. The victim gave their wallets containing Rs 1,000 and some documents.

Sources said Shon had identified the youths, who were already been booked in several cases of theft, snatching, brawl and robbery. The police has identified the robbers as Sukhwinder, alias Soni, and Hardeep, alias Kaju, both residents of the colony; Sanjay, alias Gunga, Sonu and Avinash Kumar, all residents of Mauli Complex; and Ashu of Indira Colony.

The police has arrested Sanjay, Avinash and Hardeep under Sections 395 and 397 of the IPC. Efforts were on to trace the other accused. The police said the accused were notorious criminals of the area and were already facing several criminal cases.

The accused were produced in court, which remanded them in judicial custody.



Gamblers from Ludhiana, Jalandhar flock tricity
Akash Ghai/TNS

Chandigarh, October 29
For many rich and affluent Ludhianvis and Jalandharis, visits to the tricity has just become more attractive. This festive season, many families from these two business hubs are regularly visiting the city to shop and participate in gambling sessions.

These gambling sessions are being organised privately and understandably being restricted to close friends and relatives.

“The motive behind organising such sessions is fun. We have been holding these sessions every weekend,” says Milli Jain, wife of a local businessman.

She hastens to clarify that they are not professional gamblers, but only doing so in keeping with the festive spirit.

The festive season has begun early at Milli’s house. She has been organising the sessions at her house in Panchukla from mid-September. “We started with two families visiting us from Ludhiana. The number has since expanded to six,” she says.

The sessions are usually preceded by shopping sessions. “I accompany my guests for shopping in the evening before we begin our gambling sessions at night,” she says.

Savi comes here from Ludhiana every Saturday along with her husband and other friends. She says, “Shopping was the main attraction in Chandigarh earlier. But now, I find gambling sessions equally enjoyable.”

The favourite game at these sessions is ‘teen patti’ (flash). The amount of stake does not matter for these moneyed business families.

Sometimes it goes into lakhs. “But normally, we try and set the limit for stakes to Rs 50,000,” says Milli.

Another local family, which owns a jewellery shop, host gambling sessions every weekend for guests from Ludhiana and Jalandhar regularly.

“As most of our guests are from the same profession, business meetings also take place before such sessions,” says Ria.



Importance of scientific writing discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The first autumn school for training and research in pharmaceutical sciences under the UGC Networking Resource Centre on “Newer Paradigms in Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics” today entered the fifth day at University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), UGC Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS), Panjab University.

Experts and scientists from industry and academia shared their experiences with younger faculty members. SP Vyas, head, pharmaceutics, HS Gour University, Sagar, spoke on the development of novel drug delivery systems with special emphasis on nanocarrier-based protein delivery.

Dr Vadlamudi Rao, senior vice-president, Nektar Therapeutics, dwelt on the importance of scientific writing, highlighting the impact of plagiarism. Gautam Bakshi, head, IPR, Panacea Biotec Ltd, Delhi, shared his experience on the IPR issues during industry-institute partnership and technology transfers.

Dr Vijay Raina, head, bioanalytics, Nektar Therapeutics, Hyderabad, spoke on different aspects of instrumentation and regulatory requirements of analytical method development validation to assay drugs in biological fluids.

Bhupinder Singh Bhoop, coordinator of the autumn school, delivered an exhaustive talk on systematic optimisation of drug delivery systems using novel approach of “Formulation by Design (FbD)”, for successful drug development and product launch in the developed countries for drug delivery products.



MC seeks budget for transferred depts
Not getting grants as fixed by admn: Commissioner
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

The administration has been making false promises for providing grant-in-aid or matching grants for many projects undertaken by the corporation

— Mayor Anu Chatrath

Chandigarh, October 29
Cutting across party lines, councillors of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today demanded dedicated budget for the departments recently transferred to the civic body by the Chandigarh administration.

Questioning the rationale of grants-in-aid to the MC, members wondered why no fixed budget had been allocated by the administration for running these departments. Even the stopgap arrangement of the transfer of UT staff for six months was insufficient for the MC to create its own cadre for these departments.

Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra alleged that the percentage of grants-in-aid from the administration to the MC had shown a sharp decline in the past four years. He said the administration had assured that a matching grant would be given to the MC against the imposition of paid parking, hike in water tariff and property tax, but no funds had been received till date.

MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria conceded that the corporation was not getting grants as fixed by the administration. He said the administration had asked for the option from the existing staff whether they want merge with the MC or remain with the administration.

Mayor Anu Chatrath assured the House that she would take up the issue in the forthcoming coordination committee meeting on November 9. She said the administration had been making false promises for providing grant-in-aid or matching grants for many of the projects undertaken by the corporation.

Referring to the development of industrial area work, which was allotted by the administration to the MC with a condition that separate funds would be released, Congress councillor Kamlesh rued that till date the administration had not released any funds even though the work in that area had already been completed.



To stick to time frame
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today said the development projects in the city would now be completed in the fixed time frame. However, no limit on the number of projects to be passed has been fixed.

The MC House approved the department-wise time limit of the project to be allotted and completed by the departments concerned. Even Mayor Anu Chatrath ignored the plea of officials that the fresh time limit fixed by House was less and it should be approved as proposed by the departments.

In the last three meetings, a majority of councillors had alleged that the project passed by the House two years ago had not started yet. Records show that the construction of 25 roads, 40 paver blocks and two community centres were pending for over a year.

Councillor stages walkout

Nominated councillor Amrit Bolaria staged a walkout against the proposed bylaws for community centres tabled in the House. He said the norms were not in the interest of residents. Even the community centre committee chairman Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri alleged that the proposed norms had not be approved by committee so it should be deferred and discussed later.



Crackers banned near silence zones till Nov 10
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 29
The Mohali district magistrate has issued an order that prohibits the bursting of firecrackers near silence zones (all hospitals and educational institutions) between 10 pm and 6 am and any violation will attract strict penal action. The directive, issued ahead of the Diwali festival, will remain in force till November 10.

A ban has also been imposed on the storage and sale of crackers in the district, except at places specified by the subdivisional magistrate (SDM) concerned.

The order said SDMs would grant licences to shopkeepers for sale of fireworks under the provisions of the Explosives Act, 1984 and all other relevant acts and rules. The move is aimed at preventing any serious damage to life and property in case of a fire incident. Police officials and the SDMs concerned will ensure enforcement of the order.

Meanwhile, the authorities have specified 12 sites in different areas of the town for sale of firecrackers during the Diwali festival. These are: Near Dassehra ground, Phase I; near Bassi theatre, Phase II; opposite Hot Millions, Phase III B2; opposite Bougainvillea Garden, Phase V; opposite Centurion Bank of Punjab, Phase VII; near YPS Chowk, Phase VIII; opposite Food Junction, Phase X; open area opposite house no 1374, Phase XI; opposite new market, Sector 70; near St Xavier’s School, Sector 71; opposite Municipal Bhawan, Sector 68; and outside the populated area in Sohana village.

An official in the SDM’s office said so far 25 people had been granted permission to sell crackers. Officials expect to grant about a hundred licences till November 4, the last date to apply.



Capital Bakery challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The food and supplies department today challaned the Sector 10-based Capital Bakery under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act for preparing bakery items in unhygienic conditions.

A team of officials raided the bakery and found that it was not following safety standards as prescribed by the department. The team also issued a challan to the bakery for using domestic LPG cylinder.

However, a worker at the bakery tried to mislead the team by replacing it with a commercial LPG cylinder. But his act was caught on the camera and he was later sent to police custody.

The team also raided Woodhouse, a shop selling imported eatables, in the same sector. An employee at the shop locked the outlet on seeing the raiding team. However, the team raided the shop in the evening. Officials maintain that nothing indiscriminating was found in the shop.

Meanwhile, a team of officials visited Willow Café at Sector 10 and found violations in building byelaws. ADC PS Shergill said: “I have made a detailed report on the violations and will be sending it to the estate officer tomorrow.”



200 patients examined at camp

Panchkula, October 29
More than 200 patients suffering from psoriasis were examined at a camp organised by National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex, to mark the World Psoriasis Day here today. The campaign was launched by the hospital to create awareness among patients about the latest developments in cutaneous medicine. Dr Vikas Sharma, chief consultant dermatologist, and dermato-laser surgeon, said psoriasis was an immune system disorder that affected the skin, and occasionally eyes, nails and joints.

He said psoriasis might affect small areas of skin or cover the entire body with a buildup of red scales called plaques. He said about 2 to 3 per cent people were suffering from the disease, which affected both the sexes equally. “Although it appears in the 15 to 25 age group, about 25 per cent patients who develop psoriasis can develop psoriatic arthritis,” he added. — TNS



Poland dancers set stage on fire
SD Sharma

Panchkula, October 29
The diverse folklore traditions of different regions of Poland were brought alive in a dazzling dance bonanza by 20 accomplished dancers of Warszawianka, the folk song and dance ensemble of Warsaw (Poland) University, at Inderdhanush auditorium here today.

The captivating programme was organised by the ICCR in association with the DPR, Haryana, which depicted cultural traditions, rituals, customs and living style of Poland’s pastoral life, veritably titled “Musical journey through Poland”.

The repertoire included dances from Spisz, Podlasie, Lublin, Kasuby and Warsaw region.

The accomplished dancers displaying nimble footwork, perfect synchronisation, body gestures and eloquent stage movements danced straight to the hearts of audience.



Delightful dance by YPS kids

Mohali, October 29
The annual song and rhyme day of the kindergarten section of Yadavindra Public School, Mohali, turned out to be a visual treat for audience, as tiny tots with their innocent acts danced to the tune of rocking numbers.

The show started with an amazing show of acrobatics by some students of the UKG. It was followed by an act by participants, wherein audience were transported to the land of flapping ghosts and hopping bunnies. The four nurseries skipped on and off the stage with great aplomb and in the process completely stole away the hearts of audience. Renditions by LKG students mesmerised all. They, too, had every one swaying and tapping their feet. UKG sang beautifully and it was amazing to hear their sweet young voices soaring in songs like “God is Good”, “Ek Tu Hi Bharosa”, “Dill Hai Chota Sa” and “Vande Mataram” completely floored one and all. — TNS



Begin process to appoint new director: PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The PGI has written to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to initiate the process for the appointment of the new director of the prestigious medical institute.

The term of the current incumbent, Prof KK Talwar, is expiring on April 30, 2011.

In a communication to the Joint Director of the ministry, PGI’s financial adviser Ritu Dhillon has urged for the initiation of process to fill the post. Since the process of recruitment of the director was lengthy, it was necessary to start the process early so that there was no delay at the last minute.

Talwar was appointed as the PGI director on April 1, 2004, for five years and was later granted extension till April 30, 2011, or till he attained the age of 65.

The new development has rekindled the hopes of many senior professors in the PGI to occupy the top slot. There are over 10 faculty members in the PGI who are eligible for the post.



Reservation For Disabled
Punjab, GMADA told to frame policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and the state of Punjab to frame a policy for reservation and concessions to the disabled for allotment of plots in the Aero City.

Justice Surya Kant issued the direction for implementing the Supreme Court judgment dated March 4, 2009. In it’s judgement, the apex court had asserted: “We direct the state governments or local authorities to allot land for various purposes indicated in Section 43 of the Act and for giving preferential treatment to disabled persons and the land shall be given at concessional rates.”

Issuing the directions on a petition filed by Such Singh, a visually challenged person, Justice Surya Kant referred to the brochure, which envisaged 5 per cent rebate on the price of plots to the applicants under the disabled quota.”



BSNL festival bonanza
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
In a bid to woo customers to opt for broadband connections, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided not to charge installation charges.

In a release issued here today, the BSNL said the customer would be offered free unlimited download for the first 15 days after installation of the broadband connection. The scheme would be valid up to November 15.

The BSNL has also come up with a scheme for landline customers. A new customer can book a connection by depositing Rs 250 as instrument charges only. If the customer has an instrument, the amount will be adjusted in the subsequent bill and the security deposit will also be taken in three instalments. This scheme will be applicable for 90 days from November1, the release added.



PU Honours School
Clear 50 pc exams, get promoted to next semester
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Students of Panjab University Honours School, enrolled at various science and mathematics departments, will now be promoted to the next semester if they clear 50 per cent of their exams.

Nevertheless, if a student is unable to clear all re-appear exams within three years of his study in the honours school, promotion to the subsequent level of postgraduation would not be awarded.

According to a crucial decision taken by a committee of deans (all faculties) at PU, promotion to the next level in the honours school courses would now be similar to engineering and law courses offered by PU.

The honours school includes five-year integrated BSc and MSc courses offered by various departments. In past, both pass percentage and popularity of these integrated courses was on a decline. The students either opted for engineering courses at lesser-known private institutes or chose vocational courses that provided immediate employment opportunity after passing their Class XII exams rather than opting for honours school courses.

University officials claim that a liberal view taken by the PU committee towards honours school students would prove to be a great relief. This was because the students often complained that they had tough time adjusting to the new atmosphere in the university after passing out of their school.

“This decision of changing the pass criteria for the honours school has been taken by a university-level committee of all deans. There was a long pending demand to bring the honours school courses at par with the engineering, medical and law courses at the university. After reviewing the entire case, the deans felt the case was genuine and gave their consent. If a student clears 50 per cent exams in a semester, he is promoted to the next one,” said AS Ahluwalia, dean (sciences).

“But there is a limit to the freedom being given to the students. If the students are unable to clear all their exams within three years of their graduation in the honours school (BSc), they cannot get enrolled for the MSc course,” he added.

The students enrolled at the honours school offered by various PU departments get admitted to the MSc course directly after BSc without an entrance exam.



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