C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Staff scarcity at RLA inconveniences public
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The UT’s Registering and Licencing Authority (RLA) is finding it hard to cope with the rush in the office these days.Three of its female staff members, handling counters dealing with registration certificates and licences, are on maternity leave, while coincidentally three staffers handling counters had to be present in a court pertaining to a case today.

The sudden mass absence of the RLA employees proved dear to the general public, as it had to face considerable inconvenience.

Long queues were witnessed at the RLA office in Sector 17, where the public had turned up to deposit its files pertaining to licences and registration certificates. “Since nobody was present to accept our files, we had no option but to wait for someone to come and accept our forms,” said an applicant, who had come for getting his licence issued.

“We are in the process of recruiting three new data entry operators (DEOs), but as such there is no staff crunch,” claimed Vinod P Kavle, RLA and SDM (South).

The RLA was recently in the news for wrong reasons.The Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the pendancy of around 6,500 cases in all its offices, including South and East. Out of these, 5,000 cases were pending at the office of SDM South (office) alone.

It was then that the UT Home secretary-cum-Transport secretary Ram Niwas, on a visit to these offices, had directed the officials to clear the backlog within 10 days.

It was also decided to start two new counters so that there was no pendancy for the fresh registration of vehicles.

In fact, the authorities were themselves shocked to find such a huge rush in the last leg of the year. Blame it on the proposed hike in road tax or on the huge discounts offered by automobile manufactures, residents of the tricity seem to be on a car-buying spree, adding to the existing rush at the RLA.

The UT Administration recently announced an increase in road tax on the lines of the neighbouring states which will significantly change what car owners used to pay until now for the registration of a four-wheeler.



Power cuts in the offing
UT may do it on a rotational basis
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
If power cuts in the summers left the city residents sweating it out, the ones in the ongoing winter may well leave the residents shivering.With a huge gap in the demand and supply, there seems to be no alternative to the power cuts in the city. However, the only saving grace seems to be the fact that the UT administration may go in for scheduled power cuts for enabling the people make alternative arrangements, official sources informed.

“With power consumption in the city rising by leaps and bounds in the recent years the power cuts are a necessary evil. The better way of load shedding is the rotational powers cuts, which resulted in lesser inconvenience to the consumers,” a senior official told The Tribune here today.

Union power ministry’s recent decision to reduce the Central pool allocation from 50 MW to 25 MW will take its toll on the power supply in the city. Besides, Chandigarh is supposed to return 25 MW to Jammu and Kashmir, which it borrowed under the power-sharing agreement this summer. Since the power-surplus states, including the Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, cannot spare power in winters, Chandigarh has nothing much to cheer about on the power front.

Having an area of 114 sq km, Chandigarh does not have any source of power generation. While the city has a total power supply of 270 MW, the peak demand is about 323 MW. In fact, the average power consumption hovers around 300 MW.

Sources asserted that given its VIP status as the capital of Punjab and Haryana, besides the administrative headquarters of the UT, the administration had a tough task meeting round-the-clock demand for power in VIP areas. This would mean that the Phase III sectors (Sector 30 onwards) would bear the brunt of the power cuts.



Another cloned credit card fraud detected
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 14
After losing about Rs 13,000 in a fraudulent transaction conducted through his cloned credit card, a town resident, Surendra Singh Halsi, received yet another SMS on his cellphone today morning informing him his card had again been misused to book a train ticket.

“I received the message at 8.15 today on my mobile”, he said. Fraudsters had booked the ticket costing Rs 506 by using his cloned credit card again.

Halsi said he would file a complaint with the police asking it to file a case in this regard after officials of State Bank of India, which issued the card, provided him transaction details about the train ticket booking

A senior police official said despite all the recent cases of debit cards being cloned banks were still not serious about security arrangements at their ATMs. “There are still a number of banks and ATMs in the town where banks have not posted security guards. Many of them have even failed to install CCTV cameras”, he added.



Close shave for 65 at city airport
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Sixty-five persons, including five crew members, on board a Jet Airways plane had a close shave when left tyre of the aircraft started deflating soon after it landed at the Chandigarh airport today.

According to HS Toor, Director, Chandigarh airport, the tyre of the aircraft started deflating after the aircraft had landed at the airport. Seeking to allay fears, he said this was not “uncommon as sometimes temperature in the engine of the plane is so high that tyre’s safety valve automatically starts leaking after overheating”.

“Jet Airways’ Delhi-Chandigarh flight (9W 2649) with 60 passengers and five crew members landed at here around 10.40 am. It was immediately stopped and all passengers disembarked safely. There was no breach of safety, Toor clarified.

The pilot, he said, did not experience any jerk and he took the airplane to the parking bay safely where the tyre got fully deflated.

He said the technical staff was at job and the tyre of the plane was being replaced and it would have its return journey by the evening.

Tyre deflation has, of late, become a little too frequent at Indian airports, although aviation experts say the incidence is still rare. The Chandigarh airport, they pointed out, handled around 11 landings and take-offs every day and by that token, incidence of tyre deflation was not very high, they said.

However, one of the passengers, who reached here by bus from Ludhiana to board the plane’s return flight to Delhi, lamented that he would miss his international flight from Delhi. “I came here in the morning by bus from Ludhiana to board the Jet Airways’ Delhi-bound flight, but now I will miss my international flight from Delhi,” he said.



City shivers at 5.7°C
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
People braced for colder weather as the mercury plunged to the season's lowest temperature recorded at 5.7 degrees Celsius. Even though the dense fog was missing in the wee hours, it was the chilly winds blowing across the city that added to the woes of city residents.

"Today's minimum temperature is the season's lowest so far. The minimum recorded today is also one degree below normal for this time of the year. Only yesterday the minimum was 5.8 degrees C," said a senior meteorological department official. The met further said residents should prepare for colder weather in the coming days with any respite for the next two days highly unlikely. "The mornings and late nights will now be much colder with the minimum temperature likely to hover between six and five degrees Celsius on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively," the Met official added.

Even the days are likely to be comparatively colder with the maximum temperature expected to be below normal for the coming two days. “Snowfall in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh is the reason behind the cold weather here. Cold wave conditions are prevailing over many parts of neighbouring Haryana and Punjab and things are not likely to improve till Thursday”, the Met official stated.

As the chill continued unabated people were seen gathering around bonfires, particularly during early morning and late evening.

The maximum temperature today settled at 21.2 degrees C, one degree below normal, and it is likely to hover at around 21 degrees and 5 degrees, respectively, for the next two days.

The maximum humidity recorded was 88 per cent while the minimum was 40 per cent.

The weathermen warned the situation might worsen in the coming days. The condition in other parts of north India was no better. The weatherman predicted clear sky with fog/mist in the morning with no respite from the chilly winds in the next couple of days.



Gang of thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
After being pushed to the wall by the spate of thefts, vehicle lifting and snatchings in the city, the police today claimed to have arrested six members of a gang of burglars. A series of thefts in commercial and residential areas during the past few weeks have been attributed to this gang.

Addressing a press conference, UT SSP Naunihal Singh said the crime branch received a tipoff that six men identified as Karam alias Happy, Gurpreet Singh, Manjit Singh, Sanjay alias Sanju, Baljinder Singh alias Balli and Harpreet Singh, all residents of Mohali, were planning to commit burglaries by breaking open locks and shutters of shops in the city. All the burglars, aged between 19 and 27, were school dropouts, he added.

The police recovered firearms and knives from the suspects who were planning to commit a robbery at the Sector 15 petrol station in a silver colour Tata lndica car bearing the registration number HR03 G3041. Following the tipoff a police team led by subinspector Sohan Lal apprehended the suspects.

Following a search of Karam and Baljinder, two “country made” revolvers and two .38 bore live cartridges were recovered. From Gurpreet, Harpreet, Sanjay and Manjeet knives and an iron crowbar was recovered. The crow bar was used to break open the locks and shutters of shops. Two mobile phones, a camera were also recovered from Karam and Baljinder, who had reportedly stolen them from a shop, Vishal Electronics, in Dhanas on December 7 night.

The gang members have also admitted they were involved in burglaries committed recently in various shops in the city.

During the course of further investigation the identification of the burglary spots would be ascertained from them and recoveries would be effected, the police stated.

Patrolling stepped up

To check burglaries, snatchings and robberies, special ‘nakas’ (police checkposts) will be set up in the city from 5 pm to 8 pm. Special patrolling from 8 pm to 11 pm under the supervision of SHOs of various police stations are also being undertaken. From 1 am to 4 am 150 IRB personnel, 185 PCR officials in 70 PCR vehicles and 105 officials of the local police are being deputed to prevent burglaries, snatchings and robberies. Police officials have been deputed to check all vehicles from 1 pm to 4 pm and from 4 am to 6 am and officials have been asked to remain alert


Treat dyslexia as a disability: Petitioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Some patients suffering from dyslexia do fall under the mentally challenged category and may get a disability certificate.But there can be no reservation for the mentally challenged in any merit based entrance examination, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today heard.

Under secretary with the Union Ministry of Social Justice Surender Kumar Malik said dyslexia was a disability that made it difficult to read, write and spell, despite average intelligence. It was not included as a disability under the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995.

He also asserted, “Dyslexia persons can be covered under the mentally challenged category and eligible to claim benefits of reservation under Section 39 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, provided they possess a disability certificate issued in accordance with the guidelines prescribed for issuing such a certificate,” mentioned Malik.

The information came during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by Pranjay Jain of Chandigarh. A dyslexic, he was seeking directions to treat dyslexia as a disability as defined under Section 2(1) of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. He had also requested that he should be treated under differently abled quota of 3 per cent for the purpose of admission to institutes on the basis of his AIEEE-2010 and JEE-2010 examinations.



Election held for Commonwealth Youth Leaders’ Conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Noelyn Wagapu from the Solomon Islands and Rebecca Solomon have been elected for the chair and vice-chair, respectively, for the Pacific region in an election held during the Commonwealth Youth Leaders’ Conference 2010 today.

Fortyfour representatives of the Commonwealth nations cast their votes, where Noelyn managed 16 votes, while Rebecca got 27 votes through a ballot box procedure. Noelyn could not make it to the conference due to her personal commitments back home. Hence her nomination was representative by her fellow countrymen.

The election was held under the coordination of Stanzin Dawa, programme manager, CYP (Asia Centre), while Thomas Le’ Feuvre, former Regional Youth Caucus representative, Africa region, Sarika Katoch (former chair, Asia region), Kamal Powell (former chair, Regional Youth Caucus, Caribbean region), acted as returning officers.

Twentyfour-year-old Noelyn is currently chair of the South Pacific Regional Youth Caucus and wants to learn more about youth issues and contribute positive changes in the pacific region, while Rebecca works for the Vanuatu National Youth Council and an activist for youth campaign for six years.

It is the first time that such an election has been held and Chandigarh-based CYP has hosted a youth leaders’ conference.



Allotment Of 160 Flats
CHB scheme under HC scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Just about a day after the Chandigarh Housing Board launched a scheme to allot 160 flats in Sector 51-A, it has come under the Punjab and Haryana High Court scanner, with advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti challenging the clause whereby an applicant can submit unlimited number of applications.

Taking up the plea this morning, the Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notice of motion to the housing board. Throwing a challenge to the clause paving way for acceptance of any number of application forms from a single person, Bhatti asserted it would diminish the chances of allotment of the flats to the “needy persons” belonging to the general public. It would also encourage and regularise speculative business.

The exorbitant rates charged by the CHB too have been brought to the high court’s notice. The petitioner said a two-bedroom flat in Sector 63 was priced at Rs 29.14 lakh in 2008, while the Sector 51-A flat was costing more than Rs 50 lakh, though it was smaller in size.

Bhatti asserted the primary objective of the CHB was to provide reasonably priced, good quality housing for those without accommodation residing or desirous to reside in the UT. But, those involved in property and commercial activity were hijacking the schemes. Bhatti said the CHB was on the verge of bankruptcy and now the UT administration had evolved a unique way to deal with its bankruptcy by deviating from the policy of providing reasonably priced house. He also sought directions to restrain the administration from selling and accepting the application forms of the present project and the other projects of similar nature, till the appropriate instructions/directions were issued for the removal of the illegal clauses. The case will now come up for further hearing on January 4.



Energy conservation day

CHANDIGARH: Students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31, celebrated the national energy conservation day on the school premises on Tuesday. Poster-making competition was also organised to mark the occasion. Principal SK Bhatia addressed the students and shared ideas to save energy. She recommended the students to switch off all electrical appliances when not in use at school as well as at home.

Students perform at the energy conservation day celebrations at St Stephen’s School, Chandigarh, on Tuesday; and (right) students of Manav Mangal School, who participated in the International Informatics Olympiad, in a jubilant mood in Panchkula on Tuesday.
Students perform at the energy conservation day celebrations at St Stephen’s School, Chandigarh, on Tuesday; and (right) students of Manav Mangal School, who participated in the International Informatics Olympiad, in a jubilant mood in Panchkula on Tuesday. Tribune photographs

Youth Parliament

A Zonal-Level 23rd Youth Parliament, a joint collaboration of KVS and Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, was held at KV 3BRD AFS today. Chief guest Rattan Lal Kataria, former Member of Parliament, inaugurated the function. Principals of neighbouring KVs attended the function. Rattan Lal Kataria congratulated participants and appreciated KVs for organising such competitions.


The UT administration on Tuesday held a meeting with various NGOs associated with it to review the progress of various AIER centres. The meeting was presided over by Education Secretary Ram Niwas. He lauded the efforts of the NGOs associated with the education department for monitoring and supervising the centres. A total of 25,000 children have been mainstreamed so far in 199 AIE centres run by the UT administration in collaboration with various NGOs.


PANCHKULA: Navdesh Singh of Class V and Neel Aryan Gupta of Manav Mangal School, Sector 11, have added yet another feather to cap of the school by securing first and third position, respectively, at the state level as well as fifth and 10th position, respectively, at the national level in the International Informatics Olympiad 2010 organised by the Computer Literacy Foundation, New Delhi, in August this year. Akshita Aggarwal and Kshitiz Garg have got second and fourth positions, respectively, at the state level. In Class VII category, Anmol Rana has bagged the first position in Haryana and secured the ninth position at the national level. In Class VIII category, Anurag Jindal and Abhinav Bali have secured sixth and ninth position, respectively, while Sakshi Sharma and Priyanka levelled on the seventh position at the state level. School principal Sandeep Sardana congratulated the students and lauded the efforts of the teachers for preparing young minds for a tech-savvy future.


Students of 16 leading schools of the tricity were awarded by Avantika, a group of contemporary artistes and intellectuals based in Delhi, for their outstanding performances in the field of performing arts, social welfare and sports. Dr Anand Aggarwal, national director Avantika, while awarding the students during a function held at DAV Senior Secondary Public School, Sector 8, emphasised on the need to identify talented students, bring them forward and reward them. Principal Santosh Bhandari stressed upon the need to provide more opportunities through various activities.

Christmas celebrated

Students of Classes V to VII of Satluj Public School, Sector 4, celebrated Christmas by taking part in various activities like antakshri, carol singing, best out of waste, calligraphy, fancy dress competition, Christmas tree decoration, story writing, solo dance, rangoli, poetry recitation, solo song and mehandi with zeal and enthusiasm. Students were judged on the basis of their talent, confidence and pronunciation. Principal Krit Serai said the aim of such competitions was to give a chance to the students to come forward and showcase their talent, which is also an essential part of the CBSE CCE. — TNS

‘Tulsi Ratan’

AMBALA: Police DAV Public School, Ambala City, was awarded the running trophy of “Tulsi Ratan” in a function organised by the Human Foundation at Ambala City on Tuesday. The award was given by Swami Gyananand Ji Maharaj for planting and nurturing a large number of tulsi saplings at the school campus. School principal Vikas Kohli said around 200 saplings of tulsi were planted by the students. He said the students had also planted tulsi saplings in their houses. — OC

Medical camp

DERA BASSI: A medical awareness camp was organised at Col VR Mohan DAV Public School, Dera Bassi, on Tuesday. A team of doctors, including Dr Snighda, Dr Khushwinder Singh and Dr Reddy, addressed the students and informed them about the complications of diabetes, which is becoming a common disease. Dr Snighda informed the students about the symptoms of diabetes. A quiz was also held on the occasion. — OC


CHANDIGARH: Vandita Kakkar, a senior research fellow of department of pharmaceutical sciences, University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Panjab University, pursuing her research under Dr Indu Pal Kaur (associate professor), has been awarded the prestigious Dr PD Sethi Certificate of Merit Award 2010. The certificate of merit award has been presented for her research paper “Pharmacokinetic applicability of a validated liquid chromatography tandem mass spectroscopy method for orally administered curcumin loaded solid lipid nanoparticles to rats”. — TNS


















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