C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pride Asia Funds
MHA notice to Finance Secy
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
In yet another blow to the UT Finance Secretary, Sanjay Kumar, who has since proceeded on leave, the union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has served a notice, asking him to explain, within a fortnight, under which provisions the Pride Asia project funds amounting to ` 621 crore were retained by the UT Administration, bypassing the normal budgetary provisions.

The notice is accompanied with the stipulated warning that if the Finance Secretary fails to respond within the stipulated time, it will be presumed that he has nothing to say on the matter and action as per rules would be taken against him.

The UT Administration was supposed to deposit the amount of Rs 621 crore with the consolidated funds of the Central Government. However, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), which was made the nodal agency for signing the agreement in 2005 between realtor Prasavnath and the Administration, was directed by the finance department to retain the funds.

Later, following a report by the MHA’s audit team, which revealed that the retention of funds was a blunder on the part of the Administration, the CHB was recently directed to deposit the amount in the consolidated funds.

Out of ` 621 crore which the CHB received from the Prasavnath deal to develop an IT habitat near the IT park, ` 360 crore were spent by the CHB on different projects on the directions of the Administration.

A cheque for ` 278 crore from the Pride Asia funds was recently forwarded to the estate officer for deposit in the consolidated funds.

The CHB was made the nodal agency in 2005 for constructing 1,314 houses under the Pride Asia project. A one-room flat under this scheme was to cost ` 60 lakh while a penthouse was priced at ` 6 crore. Interestingly, even though the scheme was named IT habitat, only 10 per cent of the apartments were reserved for IT professionals.

Nevertheless, the scheme could not see the light of the day as Parsavnath failed to deposit the entire amount of ` 821 crore with the CHB and the matter went into arbitration.

Since then, the CHB is paying a hefty sum of `1.5 lakh each for hearing to three retired judges appointed as arbitrators for dealing with the matter in the arbitration tribunal.

Adviser, too, in dock
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva/TNS

Chandigarh, November 23
After the ministry of home affairs (MHA) reprimanded the UT Administration’s move for acquiring land for Phase III of the IT park, it has now asked the UT Adviser, Pradip Mehra, to explain the proposed expansion of the park.

Pradip Mehra has been asked to explain within a fortnight how the land was to be acquired for Phase III without weighing the pros and cons. The Administration had already invited the wrath of the MHA with its move to acquire land for Phase III, following which the ministry had also recommended to the Administration to put the acquisition on hold.

Mehra was tightlipped when contacted. “I am too busy right now to answer your questions. I have no clue,” he stated.

The matter is already pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. An inquiry into the matter had found fault with the acquisition process. The inquiry officer concluded that lack of necessary administrative discretion was clearly manifest in the move to acquire land for Phase III.

In a communication to the Adviser, inquiry officer ML Varma, deputy secretary to the Union Government, had stated: “The report of the inquiry officer has been considered in the home ministry and it has been decided that in view of the observations made by the inquiry officer, the acquisition of land for IT park, Phase III, should be put on hold. The Administration must develop a plan of the periphery, get it approved by the competent authority and approach the ministry of environment and forests to carry out environment impact assessment before going in for further acquisition in accordance with the development plan in the future.”

The Union of India, on the previous date of hearing, had claimed that the inquiry into the “role and extent of involvement of various officers of the Chandigarh Administration” in the IT park and acquisition was complete.



Transfer of key departments
It won’t be a cakewalk for MC
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Empowerment is coming at a high price for the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC). Despite the euphoria over the transfer of certain key functions by the UT Administration to the MC, the civic body is faced with hard financial realities as the creation and maintenance of the required infrastructure will require a whopping Rs 383 crore over the next five years. A proposal regarding these projects is part of the agenda in the MC House meeting scheduled for November 26.

Lion’s share of the total investment -- Rs 153.75 crore -- will be required for the execution of primary health projects. The MC will need ` 130.28 crore for engineering works alone while primary education will account for ` 98.93 crore. Further, ` 67.16 crore will be required for various projects in the financial year 2011-12. With elections to the MC due in December 2011, the ruling Congress and union minister for parliamentary affairs and water resources Pawan Bansal will have to bring in more grants-in-aid from the Union Government to beat the anti-incumbency factor.

The financial implications for the MC have been worked out by nodal officers following a series of brain-storming sessions with senior officials, including the MC Commissioner. While Additional Commissioner-I was the nodal officer for primary education, the Chief Engineer and the Superintending Engineer (Bridges and Roads) were the nodal officers for engineering works. The medical officer of health was nodal officer for primary health.

The notification transferring functions from the Administration to the corporation required “creation of posts of various categories of staff to carry out these functions”. In addition, the MC is also required to construct schools and hospital building and to recarpet V-3 roads, besides maintaining infrastructure being transferred to it.

Recently, the Administration had transferred 17 dispensaries and seven schools to the MC. Two sites at Maloya for the construction of a 100-bedded maternity hospital and a 30-bedded hospital and 18 new earmarked school sites have also been transferred to the MC for the construction of buildings from “its own funds”.

Mayor’s Take

Mayor Anu Chatrath claimed that finances would not come in the way of the execution of projects as adequate budgetary allocations would be made for them. The civic body was pinning its hopes on additional grants-in-aid from the Central Government for the speedy execution of the projects.



CCTV Cameras
Stop payment, says engg dept

Chandigarh, November 23
In the wake of dysfunctional CCTV cameras at various intersections across the city, costing lakhs, the engineering department today issued a notice and slapped a penalty on the company which had installed the cameras.

After reports of cameras not being functional and repeated reminders to the company to fix those, the department decided not to release further payment to the company.

This was decided during a meeting attended by officials of the engineering department and the UT police.

The company, Zicom Limited, had installed around 95 cameras at 20 traffic intersections. It was found that only two cameras were functioning for the past one month. The department had sent reminders to the company earlier, asking it to carry out necessary repairs.

On the other hand, the company was not willing to carry out repairs, claiming that the UT administration had not paid it the full amount of cameras and it was paid only Rs 25 lakh. “We have decided to stop all payments to the company as it has violated terms and conditions decided upon in the beginning and most cameras are not functioning. The company has refused to carry out repairs and has not handled the problem regarding connectivity,” said SK Jaitley, Chief Engineer. — TNS



Cable fault delays Shatabdi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Hundreds of passengers had to face a lot of inconvenience this evening as the Shatabdi, which was scheduled to reach Chandigarh at 8:45 pm, left New Delhi at 6:45 pm, about an hour and-a-half behind schedule.

One of the passengers, BS Gill, said the railway authorities at New Delhi announced at 6 pm that the train would leave at 6:15 pm, but the train left the station half an hour later.

Gill said after arriving at Sonepat around 7:50 pm, it halted for about one hour and the authorities again failed to inform the passengers.

Snacks were not served to the passengers during the journey and when the passengers objected to this, the authorities claimed that meals would be served at Ambala. The station superintendent said there was an overhead electric cable fault at Panipat and trains were being run on a single track.


‘Lax police, poor parenting to blame’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
In the wake of the rising crime graph, residents of the city have squarely blamed an ineffective police force, besides moral degradation in society for spurt in criminal incidents.

Social activist and advocate, Ajay Jagga, alleged that community-oriented policing had gone for a toss. “The basic responsibility for residents’ security lies with the police and it has failed to perform this task. More alarming is visible crime like chain-snatching which instills insecurity among residents, particularly women,” he said.

“Skyrocketing prices of gold are luring old, new and inexperienced offenders to make quick money by venturing into chain-snatching. The type of criminals who earlier picked pockets and stole mobiles have switched to snatching chains,” he stated.

Satish C Sharma, general secretary of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council and resident of Sector 50, alleged that tall claims by the police have failed to instill confidence among people. “Hi-tech initiatives like installation of CCTV cameras in police stations, GPS system in PCRs and use of latest software have only served a limited purpose. The criminals, on the other hand, have gone about their activities at regular intervals without any fear of law,” he said.

Former principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, SS Bhatti, said several factors, besides police ineffectiveness, were responsible for rising crime. Cultural debasement of society, rising corruption, disregard for law, poor parenting, drug addiction and unemployment were the reasons for rising crime.

Art scholar Nirmal Prakash was of the opinion that collapse of the beat system in the city seemed to have given a field day to anti-social elements. “There is absence of rule of law if the number of crime incidents is any indication,” he alleged.

“While the police seems to be soft on anti-social elements, traffic rule violators are dealt with sternly. This situation creates contempt of rule of law among the general public,” he added. 



ATM Fraud: 2 more lose Rs 85,000
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Unidentified fraudsters duped a subdivisional engineer (SDE) with the BSNL of Rs 64,000 by withdrawing the amount from ATMs in the city and at Zirakpur. In another incident, a Panchkula resident alleged that his wife lost Rs 21,000 in a similar fashion.

There had been a series of fraudulent withdrawals in the tricity in the past over four months, but the police had not been able to achieve any breakthrough. Sources said over 80 ATMs had been used, in which lakhs had been withdrawn.

Talking to The Tribune, Ravinder Kumar, SDE with the BSNL branch at Phase II, Ram Darbar, alleged that Rs 64,000 had been withdrawn from his savings account with the State Bank of India (SBI), Phase II, Ram Darbar.

“I withdrew Rs 5,000 on November 12 and there was a balance of Rs 64,090 in the account. On November 17, I went to the bank and found Rs 90 in my account. I enquired from bank manager NK Sharma, who said he was aware of the issue,” he said.

Bank officials told him that Rs 20,000 was withdrawn from the ATM of the State Bank of Patiala (SBP) at Dera Bassi on November 14. The next day, Rs 20,000 and Rs 4,000 were withdrawn from another ATM of the same bank at Dera Bassi.

Similarly, Pawan Kumar of Sector 10, Panchkula, alleged that his wife lost Rs 21,000 to ATM fraudsters. His wife had an account with SBP, Baltana. “She withdrew Rs 3,500 on November 14. When she checked her account balance today, she found that Rs 21,000 had been withdrawn through ATM transactions,” he said.

Police fails to register case
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Panchkula, November 23
The police is allegedly dilly-dallying in registering a case on a complaint of MM Soni, who lost Rs 43,400 in unidentified cash withdrawals from his pension savings account.

Soni, a retired official from the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, told The Tribune that he had been visiting Sector 5 police station for the registration of the case but the police had failed to do the same.

He said every time he visited the police station the officials present there told him to come in the evening, as the SHO was not present there.

Soni said it was during his visit to the SBI branch in Sector 10 on November 19 that he came to know about the withdrawals through mini statement. He said he informed the bank officials in this regard and later approached the Sector 10 police station where he was advised to file the complaint with the Sector 5 police station.

He claimed that as per a mini statement the accused had withdrawn Rs 40,000 on November 19 at 10.15 pm and Rs 3,400 from the SBP’s Sector 4 ATM on the following day around 8 am.

However, police officials at the police station said they had not received any complaint in this regard. They said as SHO Om Parkash was away to Kaithal the aggrieved party was welcome to file the complaint after his return. SP Maneesh Chaudhary said the SBI and SBI officials had been told to upgrade security features.



Manch opposed to six other corporations

Panchkula, November 23
Buoyed over the ruling of the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the Haryana government’s notification to upgrade the Panchkula municipal council to a corporation, the Shivalik Vikas Manch today urged the state government to withdraw the notification for six other corporations.

In a memorandum to the Haryana Chief Secretary, Vijay Bansal, manch patron, said the notification on constituting municipal corporation at Ambala, Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat, Rohtak and Hisar should be withdrawn in view of the October 29 judgement.

He also quoted observations made by the Division Bench, which asserted, “The notification dated March 17 was contravention of the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution and the Haryana Municipal Act.” — TNS



Repaying society for all that they earned
Nidheesh Tiyagi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
A bunch of very young people would gather this Thursday to celebrate their bright and extraordinary journeys through challenges and difficulties. Some would be embarking on the chase to their dreams, while some would share their special journey.

Priyanka Panchal is one of them. She is an architect in the making. Already finished with her diploma in architecture, she is currently doing her apprenticeship with architect Bachhittar Singh and would want to return to classroom to finish a degree in architecture. While talking to The Tribune, from this office, she is clear about what she wants to do. For a long time, she was not.

In her family of five, the only source of income is her father, who works in Sector 26 grain and vegetable market as a supervisor for a wholesaler. That Priyanka was bright was spotted by her teacher Kulwinder Kaur in her school when she was in class VII. She brought it to the notice of a group of people who were willing to not just help them financially, but also network, counsel and help them overcome the challenges.

After getting into a diploma course, Priyanka topped her class and secured a scholarship. “My father had to borrow money to fund my admission,” she says, “but the society has been very helpful to me in not just with financial help, but also helping me choose the right course, college and employers.”

A group of people, who are old and retired share the pride Priyanka and youngsters like her exude. After finding their own place, position and accomplishments in life, they have got together to give back to society, which has made them. Initiated by Lt-Gen (retired) JL Malhotra, this group has several educationists, bureaucrats, people from corporate world and the forces, who are helping some 700 young minds chase their dreams and helping them make it possible.

The Society for Meritorious Students (SFSM) spots the potential talents from schools, where they pick up children from poor background and provide the essential help till the child gets an employment. Lt-Gen Malhotra says, “Each child comes with his or her own constraint and we try to go into those factors that hamper their route to education. A boy might need books, another fee, a third bicycle and fourth clothes. There is no straitjacket solution.”

He and Prof RC Jeevan, retired principal from DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, have this glint in their eyes, when they talk about children who have gone to IITs, found jobs as managers in hotels and multinational banks. “This is their own effort, what we did was very small, but critical,” says Professor Jeevan.

They reach out to schools to help them find such deserving students. This Thursday evening in Panchkula, the society celebrates its annual day, announcing scholarships for the new batch of bright students. General Malhotra says, “We are giving back to society what we got from it and in a way, it can only add positive value to society.”

Priyanka talks about positivity too. She says her accomplishments and journey are a result of positivity. “Now I know, things can become possible, if one is positive about it. When I would become someone on my own, I would like to share the same kindness which came my way,” says Priyanka. On web, society is at www.meritstudent.org and can be reached at meritoriousstudent@gmail.com.



Health camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Residents of Janata Colony and Adarsh Nagar here saw a rare example of public and private collaboration today.

The Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR), a non-profit trust, joined hands with the health department of the SAS Nagar district to hold a public health camp.

Dr Frederick Shaw, CEO of DIR, said the camp was organised jointly by two Gurpreets, district TB officer and DIR assistant director.

Dr Shaw gave a detailed report on the camp and the nature of benefits extended to the local residents.

Till a little after noon, a team of physicians, including Drs Iqbar, Kauljeet, Navneet, Manjeet Bhatia and Salini Sahai, had checked 201 patients.



Implementation of RTE Act
Pvt schools issued broad guidelines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
The DPI (schools) in reply to the case of quota for the economically weaker sections (EWS) today said all private schools in the city had been issued broad guidelines for implementing the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

The reply has, however, admitted that a formal notification for implementing the act is yet under consideration. After finalisation of the policy under the RTE Act, 2009, a formal declaration of the guidelines to be followed during the admission process will be conveyed to the institutions through the district education official (DEO).

The EWS quota case filed by Pankaj Chandgothia in public interest litigation (PIL) came up for hearing before the court of Anshul Berry, CJM.

Certain schools, including Carmel Convent, Sacred Heart and St Xavier’s, have sought dismissal of the EWS quota case saying that Chandgothia has no cause of action to file the case and it is premature.

They also said being minority institutions, they were protected under Article 15 and 30 of the Constitution of India against the government’s interference.

Meanwhile, Chandgothia by way of an interim application contended, “The schools and education department need to be brought together on the discussion table. It is imperative that both sides are brought on one table so that any misgiving or misunderstanding can be thrashed out. This can happen only when both sides sit face-to-face with a mediator. This way only, all confusions can be brought to an end.”



No hostel for first-year PU students with cars
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Panjab University will not provide hostel accommodation to first year students having four-wheelers said Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, while inaugurating a workshop on “Climate Change and its Impacts on Water Resources - Adaptation Issues” organised by Global Hydrogeological Solutions in collaboration with geology department here today.

He said to check air pollution the university would encourage using bicycles. The university had decided to give interest-free loans to all students and staff members for buying bicycles.

Sobti said: “The university is set to become a role model in checking environmental degradation through pollution control on the campus. The campus was free from smoke and non-biodegradable waste.”

The university has set apart a grant of Rs 8 crore received for Water Recharging Project under which 54 tubewells are planned to be sunk besides other rainwater harvesting measures.

He stressed upon the need to adopt modern irrigational techniques to conserve water resources.

A committee has already been constituted to find out ways on how the unwanted use of cars by students and staff members could be discouraged.

Expressing concern over pollution in rivers like Ganges and fast disappearing glaciers on the Badrinath and Kedarnath road and near Hemkunt Sahib, Prof Sobti said even the presence of fog had changed its natural course of prevalence leading to unexpected obstruction in rail, road and air traffic.

Som Pal, former member of the Planning Commission of India, who was the chief guest, emphasised that the government should consider the water resources as a significant resource.

Dinesh Pande, director (exploration) ONGC, explained the programmes carried out by the ONGC for management and development of water resources as a policy programme to protect environment.

Dr DK Chadha, president, Global Hydrogeological Solutions, New Delhi, talked about measures to be taken to conserve valuable resources.



Psychology Fest
GCG-11 pockets overall trophy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 23
Paradigm, a two-day psychology fest organised by Aesthesia - psychology club at GGDSD College, Sector 32, concluded on the college campus here today.

The fest, which was organized with the motive to promote psychology and create awareness among youth about various prospects of the subject in emerging times, included a host of literary and cultural competitions in which students of various colleges participated.

The quiz “Trivia” was won by Government College for Girls, Sector 11. The second spot was a tie between the host SD College and GCG-42, Chandigarh. The third spot was bagged by PGGC-11.

The team of Aanchal and Kavan of GCG-11 won the debate contest. Aanchal of GCG-11, Kavan of GCG-11, and Amanant of MCM-36 bagged first, second and third spots, respectively.

The psychology presentation contest was won by Vishavjit Sandhu of GCG-11 and the second and third spots were bagged by Akshia Chawla of MCM-36 and Prabhleen of MCM-36, respectively.

Aneet Bedi of SD College stood first in the poster-making contest. While the second prize was awarded to Rosa of GCG-11 and third spot was bagged jointly by Manmeet of DAV-10 and Seep of MCM-36.

Prabhleen of MCM-36 won the collage-making contest and the second and third spots in the same were bagged by Tarandeep and Tandeep of GGS for Women-26 and Chaitanya of GCG-11.

Creative-writing contest was won by Simrat Singh of SD College and Tarika Narula of MCM-36 and Priyanka of DAV-10 stood second and third, respectively.

Besides, various cultural contests, including face-painting and dance contests were also organised.

An overall trophy was also awarded to the college that won the maximum number of prizes across the various categories of competitions. GCG-11 bagged the overall trophy.



Punjab wins youth fest trophy
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 23
Punjab won the overall trophy in Mahatma Hansraj Aryan National Youth festival that concluded at Hansraj Public School, Sector 6, here today.

Students from all across the country showcased their talent in various fields, including dance, drama, elocution, painting and singing.

RJ Khanderao, regional officer CBSE, was the chief guest. Mohan Lal, secretary, Arya Vidya Sabha DAV CMC, Puneet Bedi, regional director, Hansraj Public School, and principals of other schools were present.

Principal Jaya Bhardwaj congratulated the winners.


In classical dance solo Priyanka Mahajan of Hansraj Model School, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi, bagged the first position, while Abhimav Priyadarshni of DAV BSEV Patna and Auditiya of DAV PS Karyapur Asansol, secured the second and third position, respectively.

In ghazal contest Purnima of DAV Public School, Kurukshetra, got the first position, while Jyotisha Kapoor of DAV Public School, Lawrence road, Amritsar, and Paras Dayanand Model Senior Secondary School, Jalandhar, secured second and third positions, respectively.



From Schools
‘Smart Mentors Contest’

PANCHKULA: Tiny tots of Hallmark Public School, Sector 5, showcased their skills and high-tech state-of-the-art strategies of teaching using Educomp Smart Class Mimeo tools as well as Discovery, Eureka and Britannica content capsules during the “Smart Mentors Contest” held here on Tuesday. Principal Kavita Wadhwa said such programmes helped to ignite creativity and thinking as the ultimate tools to meet the challenges of life.


A picnic for students and staff of Holy Child School was organised at the Town Park, Sector 5, in lieu of Children’s Day here on Tuesday. Nursery to Class V students participated in various games organised for them. — TNS



Dances mark annual cultural fiesta

Chandigarh, November 23
Staff and students of St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School organised their annual cultural fiesta with great fervour here today.

The programme commenced with the welcome speech by principal Mervin West, who said strength of discipline, punctuality, hard work and cooperation were the qualities, which were necessary for an individual to excel.

Students of Nursery and KG staged “sunflower dance”, which was greatly appreciated by audience.

“Dancing in harmony with nature” was the theme of the dance presented by girls of Classes IX to XII.

Dressed as animals, tiny tots spread the message of “Live and Let Live”. Senior boys attired as “Chinese Monks from Shaolin” showed the finer nuances of martial arts. — TNS



PU Notes
Roll numbers dispatched

CHANDIGARH: Roll numbers of MBA (off campus) first semester at Panjab University have already been dispatched for the examination starting from November 29, a press release said here on Tuesday. Students, who could not receive their roll numbers, can collect duplicate roll numbers from USOL, Room No. 107 on November 26 during office timings, according to Prof RK Gupta, course leader, MBA (OC).


Dr SM Kant, director, youth welfare, Panjab University, has been nominated as the observer by the Association of Indian Universities for the forthcoming Inter-University West Zone Youth Festival to be held from November 27 to December 1 at Jiwaji University, Gwalior. A press release here today said the Association of Indian Universities was organising this festival where 130 universities of the west zone would participate in the events like music, dance, theatre, fine arts and literary items. — TNS



Baptist school excels in National Anthem contest

Chandigarh, November 23
Baptist Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, won the overall trophy in the inter-school National Anthem and patriotic song competition organised by the Servants of the People Society as a part of the ongoing Sher-e-Punjab Lala Lajpat Rai’s martyrdom fortnight here today.

Winners of the patriotic songs (urban) contest included Baptist Senior Secondary School, Sector 45; MRA Senior Secondary School, Sector 27-A; and Governemnt Model High School, Sector 22. Winners in the rural category included Government High School, Sarangpur; GHS, Kajheri; and GSSS, Khuda Lahora.

Baptist Senior Secondary School won the National Anthem competition in the urban schools’ category. MRA Senior Secondary School, Sector 27-A, and Government Model High School, Sector 28-D, came second and third, respectively.

GSSS, Khuda Lahora, won the National Anthem contest in the rural schools’ category. GHS, Kajheri; and GHS, Sarangour, stood second and third, respectively. — TNS



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