C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Anti-cracker drive loses its punch as sales spurt
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
This Diwali firecrackers worth over Rs 4 crore are set to go up in flames in the city - much more than the Rs 3 crore spent last year. That the anti-cracker campaign and “go green” messages have proved to be largely ineffective was evident on the eve of the festival.

The administration has renewed the licences of 480 firecracker sellers this year. Going by an average procurement of crackers worth Rs 1 lakh, as quoted by a crosssection of sellers, the total figure would be approximately Rs 4 crore. Figures for sales are, naturally, expected to be much higher.

The markets, which were less crowded today, did not reveal the actual sales, said Amarjit Singh, a cracker seller. “Not just me but all other sellers were a very worried lot till yesterday. We had to even slash prices. However, today morning sales picked up significantly”.

The city might not be among the worst polluted in the country. However, with over 1.1 million vehicles, the air is getting dirtier. “The smoke of crackers will make it even more difficult to breathe”, said Col (retd) AB Kahlon, a resident of Sector 35.

A wholesale cracker dealer in Ram Darbar, who is offering a discount of about 80 per cent two days before the festival because of poor sales, cheered up today with better sales at lesser discount. “Yesterday’s long queues got longer today”, he remarked.

Different sweet shops today confirmed a fall in sales figures. “The hectic campaign by the UT administration this year had a definite impact because city residents have become very careful”, a shopkeeper said.

There are, however, a large number of people who, like Arun Sharma are not bothered with the government campaign against spurious sweets. “We’ve grown up on the same sweets from the same shops and they are are absolutely healthy,” he averred.



Working on Divali
‘Serving humanity, their priority'
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
While most of the residents of the city will be celebrating Divali, a large number of doctors and other staff members at city hospitals will remain busy in looking after the patients admitted to these hospitals. At the PGI, staff members, including doctors, ward attendants, sweepers and technicians, will remain on duty at the regular emergency ward and other wards, whereas 18 doctors would run special emergency services at the advance eye centre in three shifts throughout the day.

Dr Pankaj“Though Divali is one of the most important religious festivals and my family, especially my four-year-old son, will miss me amid the festivities, the service to humanity is the top most priority of the profession,” says Dr Pankaj, a plastic surgeon, who will be on emergency duty at PGI.

Dr Megha Mathur“Though it is always nice to celebrate our biggest festival with family members, the profession demands devotion to humanity as the first priority. My husband, who is also a doctor, will give company to my two-year-old daughter in the celebrations, while I will be on duty,” says Dr Megha Mathur, gynaecologist, Government Medical College and Hospital.

Vijay Kumar“At younger age, my sons, now aged 18 and 21, used to insist that I should stay at home on Divali night. Expect only once, I have never enjoyed Divali with my children during the past 22 years of my service. Such is the nature of our job. Other people get leave on Divali, while leaves of policemen are cancelled during the festival season. Now we enjoy Divali when the festival passes off peacefully without any unfortunate incident,” said head constable Vijay Kumar, posted at the Sector 22 police post.

Ram DarshanFor the last four years, ASI Ram Darshan has not been lucky enough to spend time with his daughters, aged 6 and 15, during the festival of lights. Ensuring safety of the city residents is his top most priority. “From regulating traffic to shifting injured persons to hospitals is the part of our duty.”

Avtar SinghFor the last four years, fireman Avtar Singh looks for a new nest every year for his two motherless sons, aged 9 and 15, to celebrate Divali, as he is busy the whole night in his shift duty. Being proud of his sons, Avtar Singh commented, “My sons have never complained about my arduous schedule of duty hours, rather they have motivated me to continue the same.”

Sandeep Kumar“For me Divali means celebrations but sans family members,” said Sandeep Kumar, a fireman, who is on night duty for the last six years on this auspicious day. Sharing his pleasure, Sandeep said we, firemen, celebrated this festival of lights with the city because residents felt safe, knowing that we all were on alert to tackle any type of eventuality on the festival of lights.



Armed youths rob Tanishq store staff, 1 hurt
Tribune News Service

The victim, Santosh, at her residence in Baltana.
The victim, Santosh, at her residence in Baltana. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, November 4
Three armed youths snatched a bag from employees of Tanishq, a jewellery store in Sector 17, in the wee hours today after firing three rounds at a female employee of the showroom. The victim, Santosh, a resident of Baltana, was injured when a bullet whizzed past her left foot. She was rushed to the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16, where she was discharged after first-aid.

Vinod Kapoor, a business associate of the store, said: “Fortunately the bag contained no valuables and only had the keys of the safety chests in the shop. The entire incident happened in just 20 seconds. A youth accompanied by another picked up the bag and fired three rounds before fleeing in a silver colour sedan”, Kapoor said.

The incident occurred at about 1.35 am when Kapoor’s employees were closing the store and he was ambling in a corridor at a short distance.

Kapoor said he had provided dinner to his employees, as was a tradition on the occasion of ‘Dhanteras’. His employees had to work late hours at night to cater to the heavy rush of customers. He sat they came out of the store at around 1:30 am when the guard was locking the shutter after putting the bag on a chair.

“Two boys who were standing across the road came to the guard, who thought they wanted to inquire about something. But one of the young men picked up the bag and, before the guard could react, he fired three shots one of which hit Santosh. Everyone was horror struck and the youth ran toward a car and sped away. My manager immediately rang up the police, which arrived at the scene in 3 minutes”, said Kapoor.

DSP (central) Jagbir Singh said examination of the scene and the lead recovered there revealed the gunshots were in all probability fired from a “country made” pistol. No CCTV cameras were installed in the market’s corridors, he added.

Sector 17 police station SHO inspector Jaswinder Singh said a case of voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery under section 394 of the Indian Penal Code and under sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act had been registered in this connection.



Housing Scheme Draw
UT top brass fails to make it
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Even as over around 4,000 government employees got a dream house in Chandigarh in the draw of lots of the special UT housing scheme in Sectors 52, 53 and 56 here today, the top brass of the UT Administration failed to hit the jackpot on the eve of Divali.

Adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, Joint Secretary (Home)-cum- CEO of the CHB Prerna Puri, former Chandigarh IGP SK Jain, former DC RK Rao, former CEO of the CHB Amar Nath and former IAS officer Shurbir Singh failed to find their name in the list of successful candidates.

On the other hand, it was Divali bonanza for several current and former IAS, IPS, HCS and PCS officers attached to the UT Administration in the much-awaited draw of lots.These included former SDMs and IAS officers Niharika Rai and Swati Sharma and former DIG and IPS officer Vivek Gogia. The successful applicants also included Kamlesh Kumar(HCS), Vandana Disodia (HCS), Bhupinder Singh (HCS), Parminderpal Singh (PCS) and Amit Talwar (PCS), besides several judges.

Earlier, applicants started thronging the auditorium of GMCH-32, the venue of the draw since morning with maximum rush witnessed in the afternoon when the draw of lots for the Category “C” one bedroom was conducted.Over 7,600 UT employees had applied for the scheme floated by the CHB in 2008.

The toughest competition for getting a flat was witnessed in the Category “B”(two bedroom flats). With the CHB moving almost 400 applicants from the Category “C” to Category “B” following a decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, 708 applicants vied for 168 flats in this category. There were allegations that there was no fixed criteria for inclusion in Category “B” and the original applicants were put to disadvantage due to increase in the number of applicants.

Applicants also alleged that the number of dwelling units were not proportionate to the number of applicants in all categories which was promised in the brochure of the housing scheme.



Another legal battle?

The housing scheme which had been marred by legal complications since 2008 may be heading for another legal battle. As the number of flats is not proportionate to number of applications in all categories, particularly in Category “B”, legal battle stares the CHB in the face. Certain applicants also alleged that there was no fixed criteria for upgrading the applicants from one category to another. 

Those who missed the bus

Adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, Joint Secretary (Home)-cum-CEO of the CHB Prerna Puri, former Chandigarh IGP SK Jain, former DC RK Rao, former CEO of the CHB Amar Nath and former IAS officer Shurbir Singh failed to find their name in the list of successful candidates


Colourful end to Chandigarh National Crafts Mela
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The second Chandigarh National Crafts Mela concluded amidst colourful celebrations at Kalagram today. The closing ceremony was attended by Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources, and senior officials of the Chandigarh administration.

Congratulating the administration on its efforts for organising the mela, Bansal said he appreciated the hard work put in by all the people associated with this mela.

Secretary, Home-cum-Culture, Ram Niwas thanked various departments of the administration and the MC for their untiring efforts in making this mela a success.

Bansal felicitated the winners in two categories, handicraft and handloom. In the handicraft category, first prize was bagged by Patrick Shangrei from Manipur in pottery, whereas the second and third prize went to Lachchi Ram for terracotta work and Avino Rishte of Assam for dry flowers, furniture and handicrafts, respectively.

In the handloom category, the first prize went to stall number G-1, put up by Nasir Ahmed of Varanasi. The second place was won by Rabindra Biswas of West Bengal (stall number G-33) and the third place went to Lokhan Das of Assam (stall number NE-4).

A medley of folk dances like goti pua, rouf, lavni, ghoomar, mewasi, ghasiari, mayur, dhedia was the highlight of the closing ceremony.



Co-op societies a lucrative business, says panel
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Coming down heavily on the function of cooperative housing societies, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission observed forming such bodies had become “a lucrative business” in this part of the country.

Pronouncing its orders on an appeal filed by different people against those of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, the commission said: “Any seven people can join together to form a cooperative housing society and collect from the public as much money as they can on any false pretext such as construction and allotment of flats to them. Thereafter, they join together to squander these funds or misappropriate them and, when eventually no assets are left, to hand over control of the society to the registrar and further to the liquidator so that none of the members or investors gets anything from the society or liquidator.”

A complaint was filed by six people wherein the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed the members of the cooperative society to jointly and severely pay an amount of 
` 510,500 along with interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum.

One of the complainants, Malwinder Singh Battu, and his wife, Manpreet Kaur, had become members of the society for getting a flat allotted to them. It was alleged Balkar Singh and Raj Kumar Goyal were office bearers of the Nectar Cooperative House Building Society Ltd, which had its office in Sector 34. Balkar, who was its secretary and Goyal, its vice president, were said to be in charge of the society’s affairs, running its day-to-day work. They used to collect money for raising construction and to do all other works relating thereto.

Balkar reportedly met the complainants at his Sector 38 home and induced them to become members of the society to enable them get a flat allotted. He assured them the society had already purchased the land for the flats and construction would begin soon.

Acting on Balkar’s inducement, each of the complainants paid a membership fee of Rs 10,500 and were enrolled as society members. Another amount of Rs 1 lakh was paid in cash through Balkar, for which he issued no receipt. Thereafter the complainants paid a sum of ` 500,500 on different dates.

Balkar had been telling the complainants the land had already been purchased by the society and the site plans prepared. The complainants were also told he ‘bhoomi poojan’ would be held in December 2006, but this ritual was not performed as promised.

When the complainants asked Balkar to show them the papers regarding the purchase of land by the society, he neither showed the papers nor specified any date for starting the construction and instead issued them a share certificate dated December 1, 2006.

Balkar had been putting off the complainants on one pretext or the other and no payment was made by them. The complainants then sent a legal notice but in vain. They ultimately filed the present complaint for refund of the money that had been deposited.

Malwinder Singh Battu, Manpreet Kaur filed a joint written reply alleging that the registrar of cooperative societies had already taken cognizance and appointed a liquidator in an order dated April 23, 2007, who had taken over the society’s affairs and the complaint was , therefore, liable to be dismissed.

It was admitted Raj Goyal and Balkar (appellants) became members of the society and that the complainants initially deposited Rs 10,500 and became its members. However, it was denied that any cash amount of Rs.100,000 was also paid to them. The share certificate was alleged to have been issued to the complainants by the society and not by Balkar.


Any seven people can join together to form a cooperative housing society and collect from the public as much money as they can on any false pretext such as construction and allotment of flats to them. Thereafter, they join together to squander these funds or misappropriate them and, when eventually no assets are left, to hand over control of the society to the registrar and further to the liquidator so that none of the members or investors gets anything from the society or liquidator. — District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum



Notices to cracker shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Notices were issued to two cracker shop owners in Sector 15 here today by the Chandigarh fire and emergency department for violating fire and safety norms.

Officials of the fire department said that during a surprise inspection, it was found that both shop owners had installed expired fire extinguishers in their shops.

They were immediately asked to replace them with fresh extinguishers. MC officials conducted a surprise raid in sensitive markets of Sector 19 and 22 to check the fire-fighting measures and the placement of fire tenders at sensitive points. 



Insurance agent penalised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Agent of an insurance company Sanjeev Kapur has been asked to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 to a complainant for not performing his duty properly.

Stating that the complainant was not able to get insurance claim due to the “lackadaisical” attitude of the agent, the State Consumer Disputes Rederssal Commission observed: “The entire controversy was created due to the conduct of Sanjeev Kapoor. He firstly received cash from the complainant, though according to the insurance company, the agents were not entitled to receive cash. Then he issued a cheque which was dishonoured. It was due to his deficiency in the service that the earlier policy initially issued in the complainants favour was cancelled. He took about one month in making the payment of the said amount to the insurance firm and the policy subsequently started from January 31, 2007. He, therefore, cannot go scot-free for the deficiency in service.”

In his complaint, Ashuthosh Sharma, a resident of Panchkula, said his car was insured from ICICI Lombard for the period from December 26, 2006, to December 25, 2007. In this respect, a cover note dated December 26, 2006, was issued to him. The policy expired on December 25, 2007, and he got the vehicle insured with National Insurance Company from December 26, 2007, to December 25, 2008. The car was damaged in an accident on January 5, 2008. The vehicle was repaired by Hind Motors and it was delivered to the complainant on January 12, 2008, after receiving the amount of Rs 5,870 against bill of Rs 19,073. The balance amount was to be charged by them from National Insurance Company. However, the insurance company refused to make the payment and the vehicle was impounded. The complainant, however, paid Rs 13,200 on March 25, 2008, and got the vehicle released.

When the complainant approached National Insurance Company for getting the claim amount, they refused to entertain the claim alleging that the vehicle was not insured from December 26, 2006, to December 25, 2007. He then approached ICICI Lombard as the policy was valid up to January 30, 2008.



Knee arthroscopy course on Nov 7

Chandigarh, November 4
A basic knee arthroscopy course-2010 would be held under the aegis of Indian Arthroscopy Society, Arthroscopy Learning Centre, New Delhi, and Chandigarh Orthopaedic Club here on November 7. The event would witness participation of renowned orthopaedic surgeons from across the country.

“The one-day scientific event has been designed to introduce orthopaedic surgeons to philosophy of knee arthroscopic (key hole surgical) techniques for the treatment of knee disorders, said Dr Mohinder Kaushal, chief consultant at Arthroscopy and Spinal Endoscopy Centre, Chandigarh, and also course coordinator. — TNS



Fireman’s widow given Rs. 3 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
As a goodwill gesture, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today gave Rs 3 lakh as ex gratia grant to the widow of late Amarjit Singh Mavi, fireman of the Fire and Emergency Services of the corporation, who had lost his life during fire-fighting operation in Sector 22 on October 20, 2008.

CMC Additional Commissioner I, TPS Phoolka, visited the house of Mavi in Milk Colony, Dhanas village along with ML Sharma, Station Fire Officer, and handed over the compensation cheque to his wife. Phoolka also assured her that the department would make all efforts to get a job for Mavi’s son.



Students want soft skills in curriculum
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
In this world of globalisation and tough competition marks is perhaps not the only merit for students.

In a survey conducted by Postgraduate Government College for Girls (GCG), Sector 11, almost 54 per cent students have responded that emphasis should be laid on personality development.

The students were made to answer-“What must colleges do to enhance personality of youngsters?” The analysis drawn by the college from the feedback forms was that a majority of students feel that soft skills training must be included in the curriculum or else should be a vital part of training in colleges.

In response to the same query, 34 per cent students replied that the colleges must guide them about various career choices, while 37 per cent students expressed their desire to be taught computer applications.

19 per cent students feel that colleges must educate them about placement opportunities.

A surprising number of youngsters also revealed that the decision about their career was their own.

99 per cent students replied that the choice of their careers was a personal and conscious decision, while only one per cent feel that parents must guide them in making a right career choice.

In yet another query pertaining to career options, 78 per cent students revealed that they aspire to pursue master’s degree in their discipline. Another nine per cent students responded that they wish to pursue Bachelors in Education (BEd) and eight per cent wanted to join postgraduate diploma in computer applications.

“Expressing their desire to pursue a career in Information and Technology sector, out of 43 per cent students, who said that they wish to be told about placement opportunities, 20 per cent feel that they must be informed about jobs in IT sector,” said college principal, Achla Dogra.

14 per cent students responded that they must be informed about teaching jobs, while 12 per cent, seven per cent and four per cent wanted to know about banking, corporate and hospitality sector.



CCE brings out latent talent of students
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 4
The continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) system introduced in the CBSE schools has brought out the latent talent of the students in the fields of fine arts, sports, music and writing.

Stating this here yesterday at Hansraj Public School, Sector 6, CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi said the aim of the system was to prepare a child for life and not for examination-oriented system. He was speaking at an interactive session of principals from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, organised by Hansraj Public School and attended by more than 150 principals from the region.

Speaking on the occasion, Justice AL Bahri (retd), chairman Hansraj Public School, said the concept of education was evolved with a mindset of educating a person and not for any necessary annual assessment. He, too, expressed his hope that the new system would get long awaited relief from the stress attached to studies. 



From Schools
Anti-crackers rally

CHANDIGARH: An anti-crackers rally was organised at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 20 D, here on Thursday. Approximately 150 students participated in the special assembly held on how to celebrate a pollution-free Divali. Principal Nirmal Singh delivered a special lecture on the occasion.


Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31 (KV-31), campaigned for celebrating a cracker free and safe Divali. Principal SK Bhatia and vice-principal Bharti Sood highlighted the financial drain, pollution, health hazards and accidents with bursting of crackers.

St Vivekanand school

St Vivekanand Millennium School, HMT Township, Pinjore, celebrated Divali on the school premises. Various inter-class and inter-house competitions were organised on the occasion. Candles, rangolis, recycled paper items, marbled paper and decorated divas were some of the interesting items on display.

A special programme was also organised by the students. The main highlight of the event was a cultural performance “Vehra Shaguna Da” by the students of Class III.

Gian Jyoti School

Gian Jyoti School, Phase II, Mohali, wore a festive look as a part of Divali celebrations on the school premises here on Thursday. The teachers performed Diwali puja and schoolchildren were given sweets. Principal Ranjeet Bedi inspired the schoolchildren to celebrate Divali with flowers and candles, instead of crackers.

GMMS-Khudda Jassu

Students of GMMS-Khudda Jassu organised an anti-crackers rally on Thursday. The students carried placards, banners and raised slogans in support of the cause. They interacted with passersby and residents and persuaded people to use candles and diyas, instead of burning crackers.

Poster-making contest

Poster making contest was the highlight of Divali celebrations at Sharda Sarvhitkari Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 40 D, on Thursday. A fancy dress competition based on Ramayana was the highlight of the function.

GMSSS-Mani Majra

The NSS unit and Green Glory Eco Club of GMSSS, MHC, Mani Majra, took out an anti-crackers rally in the modern complex and surrounding areas. The volunteers carried placards and banners in support of the cause.

Divali celebrations

Special Divali functions were also held at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33; Government Model High School, Sector 36-D; GMHS, Sector 22-C; Sri Sukhmani International School; Delhi Public School; Haven Vidyalaya, Sector 15, Panchkula; Gem Public School, Mohali 3B2; DAV, Phase X, Mohali; Sherwood Convent School, Phase IV, Mohali; and DAV Public School, Sector 8. Special functions were also organised at Government Senior Secondary School, Dhanas; AKSIPS, Sector 41-B; and Satluj Public School, Sector 4, Panchkula.

Govt school

The AIE centre of Government High School, Mauli Colony, organised an anti-crackers awareness rally today. As many as 80 students, who are getting education through the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, participated in the rally. The rally was flagged off by in charge of evening shift of the school, Sheela Soni. She gave a slogan to students “Say no to crackers and yes to life”. — TNS



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