C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU students back to bloody ways
PUSU members clash; 5 cops injured; student council president Aulakh among 13 held
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Internal differences between the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), the ruling student organisation in the Panjab University student council this year, came in the open today when its members attacked one another other with glass bottles and swords, leaving five policemen injured at the student centre.

In a major security lapse, Simrandeep Singh Sandhu of the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), who is also a PUSU member, allegedly brought swords in his car and attacked another PUSU member, Sukhjit Singh Brar.

The ongoing cold war between former PUSU leaders, including Malvinder Kang, and present PUSU leaders, including Sandhu, Simrandeep Dhillon and Udey Wirring, took a violent turn at the student centre over putting up posters of new PUSU president on the campus.

Kang’s lobby had appointed Sukhjit Singh Brar as the new president. This irked Simrandeep Singh Sandhu and other leaders who nominated Gurbir Singh Dhillon as the new president.

Members of both lobbies had been tearing posters of the president nominated by the opposite lobby for the past few days. With the two groups now claiming to be the “real PUSU”, confusion hovers over the status of this student organisation, which has won student council elections seven times in the last 10 years.

Kang claims that PUSU was a registered body and the governing council members decided the name of the president. Gurbir’s name never came up. However, Simran Dhillon claims that party office-bearers unanimously decided Gurbir’s name.

Reacting to today’s incident, Malvinder Kang said: “Such problems of new leaders using the party for their personal interest had cropped up in 2003 and 2005. Hence, we got PUSU registered and it has a governing council. Anybody who violates discipline would be suspended. We will meet the SSP and the Vice-Chancellor tomorrow and clarify PUSU’s stand. Simrandeep Sandhu was spotted with swords at the student centre today. He is not connected with our party at all,” he said.

Simranjeet Dhillon said: “Malvinder Kang wanted to converge PUSU with ABVP, NSUI and SOI. The governing council of PUSU has eight members and out of them a majority supports us. The present PUSU leaders would decide on the new president and not former leaders. Sukhjit was appointed president by Kang’s lobby for their personal interest.”

The quarrelling lobbies of PUSU (former student leaders - governing council of party) include Malvinder Kang, Rajnish Sarin, Saranjeet Singh Bains, Rohit Sharma, Vijay Karan Singh, Abhishek Puri and Ruperjeet Singh Mann; and (PUSU current leadership) Udey Wirring, Simrandeep Singh Sandhu, Arshbir Johal, Hardev Singh Dhinsa, Gurwinder Vir Singh Aulakh, Gurbir Singh Dhillon and Simranjeet Dhillon.

Police sources claimed five policemen were injured in the violence today. The Sector 11 SHO, Sukhpal Rana, said the students who had been arrested were Sukhjit Singh Brar, Resham Singh, Ravinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Munish Kumar, Gurjot Singh, Harjit Singh, Ranjot, Jagpreet, Karampreet, Gurwinder Singh Aulakh, Simranjeet Singh Sandhu and Vikramjeet. Simran Dhillon, Udey Wirring, Harpeet Johal and Gurbvir Singh Dhillon were absconding.

The elected president of the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC), Gurwinder Vir Singh Aulakh (member of PUSU), was among those arrested.

Meanwhile, despite having made several committees in the past to put forth recommendations for checking violence, security was breached today and swords were sneaked in by PUSU members.

“We will seek an explanation from the university security and action would be taken against students when the police comes out with a detailed report,” Naval Kishore, Dean Student Welfare, said. 

What triggered the clash?

For the post of PUSU campus president, Kang’s lobby appointed Sukhjit Brar and Simrandeep Sandhu’s lobby declared Gurbir Dhillon as president. Members of both lobbies had been tearing posters of each other’s president for days. Today, members of the two groups entered into a violent brawl at the student centre over the issue. 

Major incidents of violence 

March 17 (2010) Gurwinder Singh (SOPU) alleged that four persons fired at his car

April 8 (2010) Firing at the Sector 11 house of PUSU president Udey Singh Wirring

April 12 (2010) Rival group of students burn a Mitsubishi Pajero and Maruti Esteem at PUSU president Udey Wirring’s house

May 3 (2008) Barinder Dhillon, Harpreet Multani, Gobind Singh Khatra and Viramjit Singh assault Siramdeep Singh Sandhu at the UILS, PU, critically injuring him

November 6 (2007) Vikas Rathi, Abhimanyu Huda and Anurag, along with supporters of INSO and PUSU, pelt stones at the Vice-Chancellor’s residence



PSEB Controller of Exam removed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) authorities today removed Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya from the post of Controller of Examination. The orders were issued this evening following a decision taken during a recent meeting of the board members of the PSEB.

PSEB Chairman Dalbir Singh Dhillon confirmed that he had issued the orders. Though the decision was taken at a board meeting on November 3, the orders were issued on the basis of the proceedings of the meeting.

It is learnt that in the orders, the Chairman, while referring to the decision of the board members, reverted her to the post of senior legal adviser. She was given the charge of Controller on September 14 for two years.

He said a committee comprising vice-chairman of the board Suresh Tandon, and special secretary (education) Krishan Kumar had been formed to look into the complaints against the former Controller of Examination.

Saroya said she could comment only after receiving the orders.



Illegal structures near Air Force station 
GMADA issues demolition notices to violators
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has issued demolition notices to those who have erected illegal structures, including cattle sheds, around the boundary wall of the Chandigarh Air Force station here.

Violators have been asked to remove illegal structures, failing which the demolition squad of GMADA would be pressed into service.

The action comes four months after The Tribune highlighted the issue of security concern due to the mushrooming of illegal structures. The Air Force authorities had raised the issue with the Mohali district administration.

Additional Chief Administrator (GMADA) Balwinder Singh Multani said as per provisions of the relevant Act, violators had been given time to comply with the orders. About 30 notices have been noticed by GMADA.

In the past few months, a number of illegal cattle sheds and dwelling units have come up near the boundary wall of the Air Force base at Jagatpura village. Violators have raised illegal structures right next to the emergency exit gate of the Air Force station.

Expressing annoyance over illegal structures that were prohibited within 900 metres from the perimeter of the airbase, the Air Force authorities said it had flight safety implications. The then Mohali Deputy Commissioner had taken a serious view of the issue and had asked GMADA to act swiftly.

The Air Force authorities had also stated that any proposal to rehabilitate slum dwellers near the Air Force base should not be approved without their clearance. Air Force officials said they had written to the civilian authorities concerned in Punjab in this regard.



Interstate gang of car lifters busted
Stolen vehicles passed off as genuine
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
To avoid being caught while selling stolen vehicles with forged registration documents, over half-a-dozen members of an interstate gang of car lifters hit upon a novel idea of disposing the vehicles on the basis of genuine registration numbers.

To ensure their modus operandi was nearly foolproof, the gang members first bought “written off” damaged cars from various insurance firms. They then stole vehicles of the same make and colour following which the engine and chassis numbers of the written off cars was copied and embossed on the stolen cars before being sold. The gang is believed to have sold hundreds of such vehicles, including some high-end luxury cars, during the past few months.

Acting on a tipoff the Mohali police stumbled upon the gang when its crime investigation wing caught its members - Sukhwant Singh, Chetan, Soni, Harpreet Singh alias Tura, Bhagat Deep Singh, Raju and Kalu. The police have so far traced about 20 such stolen vehicles on which the engine and chassis numbers of totally damaged vehicles had been embossed. However, he cops have yet to trace the original owners of the stolen vehicles.

Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar said the gang’s new modus operandi had come as a surprise to them. The police are on the lookout for the gang’s kingpin who it said had established contacts in various states to procure both totally damaged and stolen vehicles.

In order to avoid suspicion the stolen vehicles were sold in Punjab with the genuine engine and chassis numbers embossed on them. The police said some car garage owners, including Daljit Singh and Gursewak Singh of Jeet Motors in Zirakpur and Rajesh Verma of Verma Motors in Derabassi, were also allegedly involved in disposing the stolen vehicles.

The arrest of the interstate gang members has also led to the police knocking at the doors of insurance companies that disposed of the damaged vehicles. Explaining the lacunae, Bhullar said: “The gang used a big flaw in disposal of damaged vehicles to their advantage. We are taking up the matter with the insurance firms and car manufacturers”, he added

A case under sections 379,411, 420, 467,468, 471 & 120B of the IPC (theft, forgery, cheating and conspiracy) has been registered at Zirakpur. The vehicles that have so far been recovered are a Hyundai Verna (HR70A 7057), Verna (PB11 AG6060), Tata Indica Vista (PB13 U6444), Tata Indigo (PB51 A1572), Suzuki Alto (PBO2 BC5900), Indica (PB07 T7686), Indigo (PB35 K4002), Alto (PB11 AE4880), Indica (PB19 E0199), Indica (PBO2 BH9056), Maruti (HRO3 F1627), Indica (PB07 T6484), Suzuki Zen (PB65 K9596) and Indica (PBO9 K4420).

Man behind embossment

A key suspect in the racket who enabled stolen vehicles to be passed off as genuine was Iqbal Hussain, a resident of Moradabad. The police discovered he used to charge ` 10,000 for embossing every vehicle. He used to either ask for the vehicles to be brought to his workshop in Moradabad or would come on call. “The embossing done by Iqbal was so perfect that any person could have passed it off as genuine”, said Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar



Now, laptops@councillors.mc
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Municipal corporation councillors are set to go hi-tech with the UT administration finally giving the go-ahead to the civic body’s decision to purchase laptops for each of them. Punjab governor and UT administrator Shivraj V Patil is understood to have asked his adviser, Pradip Mehra, to convey to the MC the administration did not have any objection to the move that would enable the councillors to work more effectively.

Sources said Patil’s decision was another step to empower the councillors coming close on the heels of transferring certain departments to the civic body. Since the burden on them is expected to increase after the transfer of functions, laptops would come in handy for the councillors while receiving complaints from city residents online.

Confirming the administration had approved the MC’s decision, mayor Anu Chatrath claimed the laptops would go a long way in providing better civic amenities to the residents. “In fact, the corporation plans to hold classes for those councillors who aren’t computer-savvy,” she added.

Chatrath stated the decision would be conveyed to the MC commissioner to initiate the process for buying the laptops. These would be MC property and issued to only sitting councillors, the sources said.

Former mayor Pradeep Chhabra said with officials at the level of executive engineers and above having laptops those for the elected representatives were long overdue. ”With the acceptance of applications from residents of their wards online, the councillors would be able to save on time in forwarding these to the officials concerned,” he stated, adding computerized records would help in following up the progress on various projects.

The administration had repeatedly been blocking the move on providing laptops for councilors on “technical grounds”. Earlier, former UT administrator SF Rodrigues had rejected the proposal as it did not find favour with him and administration officials at that time.

Benefits may outweigh cost

If the average cost of a new laptop is assumed to be ` 40,000, the total cost for buying them for 36 councillors will work out to about ` 15 lakh. This figure excludes the expenses involved in training some of the councillors who are not familiar with accessing the Internet. However, it goes without saying that the benefits accruing from the use of laptops would far outweigh the expenditure in buying them if they are used properly by the councillors


Special Housing Scheme: No end to CHB’s woes
Category B applicants allege discrimination, say ratio disproportionate
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
More trouble spells for the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) over the already turmoiled special housing scheme for UT employees.

After earning a bad reputation for delaying the draw of lots for over two years, the board is now facing the ire of applicants of Category B houses, alleging discrimination.

A section of these applicants have been protesting that unlike in other categories wherein the board followed the norm of having a proportionate number of applications against specific units, in Category B, the number of applicants was much higher compared to the housing units.

Applicants are alleging that not only was this against the brochure of the scheme which was released at the time of the announcement of the scheme stating that not only the ratio of number of applicants to number of dwelling units would be proportionate, but also against the affidavit submitted by the board authorities to the Punjab and Haryana High Court during the proceedings of one of the cases filed by certain applicants. The number of applicants increased from 328 to 708 after an order of the High Court provisionally accommodated those applicants of Category C whose pay scale was revised after the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission for Category B. The court ordered that these applicants should be considered provisionally for the draw of lots for Category B. Consequently, the number of applicants rose to 708 but the number of dwelling units was not increased.

Now, over 125 UT employees have formed a group named “original applicants B Category”. The members held a protest on the day of the draw of lots. They are also mulling to file a writ petition against the alleged discrimination.

Mad rush, protest at premises

Following an extended Divali weekend, the CHB once again witnessed a mad rush at its office when hundreds of applicants of Category C and D houses struggled to locate their names in the list of successful candidates. The lists were uploaded on its official website by late afternoon.

Many applicants of Categories B, C and D also staged a protest outside the board’s office, demanding a house for each applicant. Certain applicants even claimed that they had been working for the UT Administration for over three decades and yet they did not get a house.



Proposed Panchkula ISBT yet to see light of day
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 8
Even after more than two years, the inter-state bus terminal (ISBT) in Sector 1-A, near Majri Chowk, to be set up by the Haryana government is yet to see the light of the day.

The ISBT was to be set up to decongest the city roads of heavy traffic which sometimes causes jam on the major roads, resulting in harassment to commuters.

A high powered committee of the state government, headed by the then Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, urban local bodies, SC Chaudhary, had approved the project on August 27, 2008.

According to sources, the main cause for the delay in setting up this project was the slum colony located at the site. Hundreds of shanties have come up at site and the administration had issued ration cards to the residents. Unless the government allots one-room flats constructed by the Haryana Housing Board, near Industrial Area, Phase I, here, it would not be able to construct the new bus stand at the site.

However, when this reporter tried to elicit the views of the general manager of Haryana roadways, he did not answer the phone.

The existing bus stand was to be used for local buses only but the officials of the Haryana Roadways, on the condition of anonymity, said the authorities had now decided to shift its workshop presently located in Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh. Besides, it would be used for local buses also, the officials added.

After the shifting of Chandigarh bus stand to Sector 43, the Panchkula ISBT on Majri Chowk would be a boon for residents of Panchkula and Chandigarh as they would be able to board buses for Himachal Pradesh from here only.

At present buses coming from various cities of Himachal Pradesh do not enter the bus stand and the passengers either alight at Majri Chowk, Housing Board Chowk, near Mani Majra, or Zirakpur. They have to further hire autos to reach their destinations.



GMADA rejects applications of seven
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
During the scrutiny of successful applicants of the reserved categories in Aerocity, officials of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today rejected the applications of at least seven persons as the supporting documents were not found in place.

Additional Chief Administrator, GMADA, Balwinder Singh said the doubtful cases were put up before a committee constituted to take the final decision in such cases.

Sources said during screening of the applications, it was noticed that the applicants had failed to provide the reserved category certificate. In one of the cases, an applicant in the freedom fighter category had been tagged in the self category. The scrutiny of the other categories was still going on. 



City Magistrate to take over as president
MC vice-president opposes appointment
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 8
BJP leader and vice-president of Panchkula municipal corporation BB Singhal here today opposed the appointment of City Magistrate as the president of the MC by the Haryana government.

In a memorandum submitted to Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar, Singal sought permission for allowing him to function as the president of the MC till the post of the president is filled. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had recently quashed the notification of the formation of Panchkula municipal corporation by merging Kalka and Pinjore municipal committees. The post of president is also under litigation.

He said earlier also director of urban local bodies, Haryana, in a similar case of the municipal council, Hisar, where the president was suspended on account of certain irregularities, assigned all powers, duties and functions of the president to the vice-president of the municipal council on December 12 last year. Meanwhile, the councillors were hoping for a council meeting in 15 days after the appointment of the City Magistrate as the MC president. Rajesh Jogpal, City Magistrate, said he was yet to receive the copy of the order issued by the state government. As soon as he received the copy he would initiate the process to call the council meeting, he added.



Wrong parking, encroachments along NH main causes
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, November 8
Encroachments and wrong parking along the national highway (NH) here causes traffic congestion on a regular basis and the authorities concerned have failed in checking violations.

Residents claim that they have complained to the municipal council (MC) in this regard from time to time, but the MC has failed to take strict action so far.

“The removal of encroachments along the roadside is the only solution, but the MC does not take interest in sorting it out,” says Maneesh Dhiman of Zirakpur.

Another resident says traffic cops should perform their duty seriously and challan violators. Being the entrance to the city, thousands of vehicles ply through the town everyday.

A shopkeeper says neither do shopkeepers clear encroachments, nor do the authorities carry out an anti-encroachment drive efficiently. In the absence of service roads, there is a problem in parking at the market, he adds.

MC president NK Sharma says the enforcement wing has conducted anti-encroachment drives on regular intervals. “An anti-encroachment drive on a large scale will be conducted soon and violators fined,” he claims.



Theatre fest from November 11
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 8
The fifth Annnual Chandigarh Theatre Festival will be held at the Bal Bhawan auditorium, Sector 23 here, from November 11 to 17.

During last four festivals, 21 plays, produced and directed by different theatre groups active in the tricity, have been staged.

This year, six plays will be staged during the event, being organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi.

On the opening day, ‘Ek Mamuli Aadmi’, written by Ashok Lal and directed by Sudesh Sharma, will be staged. On November 12, ‘O Log Jo Ruke Reh Gaye’, written by Arther Miller and directed by Vivek Mishra, will be staged.

On November 14, ‘Gaj-Fut-Inch’, written by KP Saxena and directed by Kuldeep Sharma, will be staged. The next day, ‘Arth Dosh’, written by Alberu Kamu and directed by Umesh Kant, will be staged.

On November 16, ‘Metamorphosis’, written by Franz Kafka and directed by Ravinder Kumar, will be staged. On the concluding day, ‘Bali ka Bakra’, written by Chander Shekhar Kambar and directed by Vandana Vashistsht, will be staged.



Councillors mull moving SC

Kalka, November 8
In a meeting of municipal councillors of Pinjore , which was chaired by Vijay Bansal, president of Shivalik Vikas Manch, it was decided that the councillors would not hesitate to approach the Supreme Court over the issue of Panchkula Corporation , under which the state government, under a notification , was to include Municipal Committees of Kalka and Pinjore in the Panchkula Corporation.

The High Court had recently quashed the notification. Addressing the meeting, Bansal said that the councillors of Pinjore had decided to go to any extent over 
this issue. — OC



Water leakage ruins Stu-C hall
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Water leakage has ruined the interiors of Panjab University’s student centre (Stu-C), so much so that a conference hall for the proposed placement cell is now a shambles.

The roof of this room is full of blots and patches of water due to the leakage. Such dismal is the condition of the room that during a press conference hosted by the incumbent Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) last week, the water continued to leak and thereby rotting furniture lying there.

Exactly a year ago, university officials made an announcement of revamping this room for placement purpose. This was revealed during a press conference held at the student centre and the university officials had expressed their plans of re-structuring the central placement cell (CPC) for students benefit.

A year later, the room, which the officials had claimed would be turned into a “five-star conference hall for corporate executives to come and interview students”, is in a pathetic state.

Right above this room are washrooms of the coffee house, an eating joint situated at the top of the student centre.

“The exact problem of the water leakage is not known and is yet to be found out, since the building is really old and needs proper maintenance. The room is not used, so nobody bothered to check the cause of this leakage,” said an employee on the condition of anonymity.

Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti could not be reached for his comments on the issue.



Right to Education Act
Education dept seeks time to frame guidelines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The UT education department today sought time in the case pertaining to frame guidelines for implementing the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

Meanwhile, the Independent Schools’ Association and two other private schools failed to file their reply, despite notices issued to them.

In a related development, The British School, Sector 44, Chandigarh, filed an application in the court to become a party on the plaintiff side. School principal Mona Sethi stated that the school is aware of its social responsibilities and wishes to implement the mandate of the Right to Education Act, but it has not been told about how to admit the economically weaker sections students. It said it had no contradiction with the claim of the petitioner and the UT administration was liable to frame guidelines.

Advocate Pankaj Chandgothia and his wife Sangeeta had filed the petition and had sought directions of the UT administration to frame guidelines for implementing the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.



SD College gets Rs 70 lakh grant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Under the FIST programme-2010 of DST, New Delhi, GGDSD College, Sector 32 C, has been granted Rs 70 lakh for strengthening teaching and research facilities in science departments of the college.

College officials informed that it was the first time that FIST scheme was opened to colleges as well since it was earlier meant for universities only. A total of 45 were shortlisted for the final round of presentations, after which, upon the recommendations of the FIST Advisory Board, only a selected few were awarded the final grant, claimed the college authorities.

With this, the departments of biotechnology, bioinformatics, microbiology, biochemistry, chemistry, botany, zoology, physics, information technology, mathematics and statistics of the college would now receive the first instalment of this grant during the session 2010-11.

Principal AC Vaid said, “This rare achievement would strengthen research opportunities in the field of sciences and biosciences in the college and help us realise our true potential in terms of offering academic programmes and research of world-class standards.”



From Schools & Colleges

CHANDIGARH: A workshop on employability was conducted at Vivek High School, Sector 38, on Monday by Venkat Matoory, CEO, Junior Achievement, India, and a team of officials from KPMG, Gurgoan. Junior Achievement is a non-profit organisation that imparts on-the-job training to senior students within a simulated business environment, wherein the children learn skills that enables them to become business entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Venkat Matoory conducted the thought-provoking workshop, the aim of which was to get the children thinking about their careers and making informed choices after asking lots of appropriate questions. He clarified myriad doubts of the students regarding career choices, which revolved around their inability to connect their interest with a sustainable career, which has their parents’ acceptance as well.

Sports day

The pre-primary wing of Saupin’s School, Sector 32, celebrated their annual sports and cultural show on the school premises with great fervour and enthusiasm. Director-principal June Saupin inaugurated the event. The event marked an exemplary, as the sports enthusiasts presented their sterling performance. The main attraction of the show was children from Snehalaya, an orphanage under the aegis of Don Bosco, who exhibited their talent in various races.

Placement drive

KHARAR: Around 320 graduates and postgraduates from the Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Gharuan campus, have been selected by five multi-national companies. Reliance Communications has shortlisted 258 engineering students. In another drive, 33 students from electrical, civil, mechanical and electronics streams were selected by AMDOCS. Ranbaxy selected eight MSc pharma-chemistry students. — TNS



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