C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU Campus
Student leaders involved in violence roam freely
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Have they been let off?

Simranjit Singh Sandhu: Prime suspect in the case - His liver was critically damaged when a SOPU leader attacked him in examination hall on the PU campus two years ago

Simrandeep Dhillon: a suspect in the case. Was involved in changing his examination centre from Chandigarh to Muktsar

Arshbir Johal: PUSU member. Was allegedly only present at Student Centre at the time of violence

Gurwinder Singh Aulakh: president, PUCSC. Was allegedly only present at Student Centre at the time of violence

SSP’s take

The investigation in the case is going on and the offenders will be prosecuted as per the law. It is for the university to take administrative decision on such students,” said SSP Naunihal Singh.

Chandigarh, January 23
If there is one place in the city where you can fearlessly beat up five policemen using swords, glass bottles and injure one of them critically and yet roam freely, it is Panjab University (PU).

That is what appears if one were to see the accused on a trip with the university these days. Two months after a bloody exchange of fists and battle of swords on November 8, 2010, at the Student centre, members of Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), who were engaged in a group fight within its own cadre, appear to be totally off the hook as they roam freely on the campus.

The four students, who were suspended by the university authorities on charges of indulging in violence and creating terror on the campus, are currently “escorting” PU students to Vaishodevi shrine, a trip organised by the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC), which concluded today.

A police investigation is pending in the matter and the report of an inquiry marked by PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti to a retired judge is awaited. Despite enough evidence to prove that PUSU leader Simranjit Singh Sandhu had attacked another PUSU member Sukhjit Singh Brar with his sword, the case has not made much headway.

The incident left even policemen injured, including sub-inspector Pargat Singh, whose arm was badly hurt when he tried to stop the violent scuffle.

It may be noted that the PU authorities had revoked the suspension orders of four PUSU members within a few days of the incident.

Despite the presence of students, university security staff, teachers and media-persons, it has taken over two months to find out the guilty and take action in the matter.

Repeated attempts to reach Vice-Chancellor RC Sotbi and Dean Student Welfare Naval Kishore failed. However, PU’s Public Relations Officer, Anil Kapoor said “The university would take appropriate action once the report is tabled.”



Outsiders on campus yet again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Acting on a Tribune report, the police arrested three persons, including two outsiders, who indulged in a brawl on the PU campus yesterday. The police traced the three on the basis of their vehicle number published in these columns and arrested Jhujar Singh, Rajbir and Dilawar under preventive measures.

Out of these, Jhujar and Rajbir are outsiders, while Dilwar is a student of MA (police administration) in the PU.

Some old enmity is said to be the reason behind the scuffle yesterday. The police said Jhujar was beaten up by Dilawar and Rajbir over the issue of a girl, who is a resident of Mohali.

According to police, the girl was known to Jhujar.

The three had earlier twice entered into a scuffle in November last year. They had entered into a brawl in Sector 34 on November 24 and again fought near the Sector 42 lake on November 27 last year before meeting yet again at the PU yesterday, the police said.

The medical examination of the three was conducted and both vehicles used in the clash - an Indica car and a Bolero - were impounded by the police. Jhujar Singh is a resident of Mohali district, while Rajbir is a resident of Kharar.

“We verified the incident and on basis of the vehicle number, traced and arrested the three. They have been involved in prior incidents of clash too,” said Anokh Singh, SHO, Sector 11 police station.

Wielding sticks, the three youths got engaged in a violent clash a few km from the administrative block and the VC’s office yesterday. They later drove away in their vehicles, all bearing Punjab registration numbers, without being intercepted by the security guards.



Education dept goofs up on school uniforms
AIE students supplied shorts in chilly winter

Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
In a move that seems to defy logic, the UT education department’s ‘Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan’ unit distributed shorts to hundreds of students enrolled with the AIE (alternate innovative education) centres as part of their uniforms in the bone chilling weather last December.

The students, most whom are aged below ten, were supposed to get their school uniforms in April or May but they received them only in mid December. These uniforms, however, came in as a rude shock. Neither the students nor the coordinators could figure out the sense of wearing shorts at the height of winter.

“It’s become a routine feature every year. Sometimes they (administration officials) delay providing uniforms, shoes or books to schoolchildren. This time it was worse with the latter not getting their uniforms throughout the year. We had a tough time reasoning with the students and their parents as to why their uniforms did not come all through last year”, said one of the coordinators.

“I’m really amazed the way they (officials) work. It doesn’t require brilliance to realize that shorts are summer uniforms. Because of this mistake children come to schools wearing shorts. We can’t say anything to them because they don’t have any other school dresses. The whole concept of dressing these children up in uniforms has gone for a toss after this blunder,” averred another cluster head.

Besides the messup over providing summer uniforms in winter, another major problem that AIE officials face is the funds crunch. The AIE coordinators have not got their salaries as yet. As many as five clusters have been asked to refund their grants though there are still two months to go for the end of the current fiscal.

“We got verbal instructions from the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan’s financial wing asking us to return the money if we wanted the salaries. We’ve yet to hold exams and even the Republic Day function - where do we get money for these if they take away the grants?” said an AIE official.



With UT rudderless, tourist potential goes untapped
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Several ill conceived projects to attract more visitors to the city launched by the UT administration during the past few years have revealed a paucity of professional leadership required for a specialized area like tourism. Handling tourists properly, right from welcoming them when they arrive to pulling out all the stops to make their stay comfortable and hassle-free, to ensure they would come back again, is absolutely lacking.

The 'bread & breakfast' scheme to woo foreign tourists, in particular, had to be closed down, the 'light & sound show' to showcase the city folded up and the plan to promote “rural tourism” never took off after a pompous inauguration in Khuda Lahora. Walls of the city’s famous Rock Garden have been defaced with graffiti. The tourist information centres, including the one in the Sector 17 plaza, are either nonfunctional or not catering to tourists’ requirements.

In the current UT administrative setup, a secretary (home or finance) could very well continue to be overall in charge of the city’s tourism department. Even the latter’s officials opine the job, as far as leadership is concerned, could be better handled by a professional.

In fact, experts feel that instead of two separate heads for tourism and the Chandigarh Industrial & Tourism Development Corp (CITCO), the UT administration should rework the arrangement. Headed by a secretary, a senior officer on deputation is the chairman for a limited tenure. On its part, CITCO had a deputy director and currently the post is lying vacant. In the absence of clear leadership, the department’s agenda continues to vary with every change of guard at the top.

The bread and breakfast scheme failed because city residents began misusing the scheme and used their houses as hotels while getting financial benefits under different heads. “Rural tourism” never had much scope and “cycle tourism” and tourist guides too have not really clicked with the target audience in the desired fashion.

Requesting anonymity, a senior official said: “Lacking ground knowledge was the biggest reason why major announcements had to be cancelled later. Light and sound was best suited for cities with a historical background like Delhi, Agra or Fatehpur Sikri. Here the shows went empty.” The officer agreed the tourism department required a far more professional staff, at least in handling tourist information desks.

Amy Fuller, a Swiss tourist visiting the city, said: “I didn’t get any satisfactory answers on planning my trip in the city at the information counter at the train station. At the Sector 17 Plaza I was merely handed tourist brochures and asked to look inside. Every tourist wants information on places to stay within different budgets and places to eat out and shop.”

Though declining to comment on the projects launched earlier, UT home secretary Ram Niwas said those currently undertaken would be “open for discussion”.

The administration is presently executing tourism projects costing Rs 40 crore. These include upgrade of the Rose Gaden, crafts ‘mela’ (fair), heritage festival, nature walks and revamp of CITCO hotels.



23-yr-old killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
A 23-year-old youth died after the motorcycle he was riding rammed into the 43-44-51-52 roundabout late last night. The victim, Bhaskar Joshi, suffered severe head injuries and died on the spot.

He was reportedly driving at breakneck speed and was found under the influence of alcohol. He was wearing a helmet, which was crushed by to the impact of the crash.

The mishap took place at 11 pm when Bhaskar was returning to his Sector-50 residence in Victoria Enclave where he was staying with his sister.

He belonged to Gwalior and had been working with ICICI Bank as a marketing agent for some time.

According to eyewitnesses, his bike first rammed into the median as a result of which he lost balance and hit the roundabout. He suffered a deep wound on the head and died on the spot.

A police control room vehicle took him to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he was declared dead on arrival. On the basis of documents found in his bag, the police traced his address and informed his sister.

A post-mortem examination would be conducted tomorrow after his parents arrived from Gwalior, the police said.

The police has registered a case under Section 304 A of the IPC against the victim on the complaint of an eyewitness, Surya Parkash.

2 hurt as car hits roundabout

In yet another accident, two persons were seriously injured when their Hyundai i10 car (CH01 AD 6783) rammed into a roundabout near Kishangarh on the IT Park road here this evening.

According to eyewitnesses, the car driver was racing with another car and lost control of his vehicle while saving a cyclist.

Both occupants of the car suffered serious injuries and were admitted to a hospital in a critical state.



Business establishmets encroaching highway
Mohali to act tough against violators
Tribune News Service

A police team with officials of local administration during an anti-encroachment drive against juice vendors on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at Zirakpur
A police team with officials of local administration during an anti-encroachment drive against juice vendors on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway at Zirakpur on Sunday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Mohali/Zirakpur, January 23
The Mohali district administration has initiated action against the business establishments for causing serious traffic hazard by allowing parking of vehicles on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway.

Six fruit vendors in Zirakpur and Dera Bassi were booked and arrested today under Section 283 (obstructing free flow of traffic). The owners of 42 marriage palaces, banquet halls and hotels in Zirakpur — who were allowing parking of vehicles along the highway — have specifically been told to mend their ways or face strict action.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Parveen Kumar has given a week’s time to the officials concerned to submit status report about the violations done by the business establishment. “All officials have been asked to visit the establishments to find whether the structures were raised as per the sanctioned plans and whether adequate parking space had been shown while getting the plans passed,” said the Deputy Commissioner.


Forty-two marriage palaces, banquet halls and hotels in Zirakpur and Dera Bassi along the Chandigarh-Ambala National highway are in the firing line; six fruit vendors booked for obstructing the flow of traffic on the national highway 

Citing the directives of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the District Magistrate has invoked Section 144 of the CrPC to ban juice vendors from setting up rehris along the national highway. The orders would remain in force January 22 to March 21.

After the Project Director of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) brought to the notice of the District Magistrate that property owners, along the national highway, had violated the rules resulting in traffic chaos, instructions have been passed to the officials concerned to act tough with the violators.

Acting on the request of the NHAI, the District Magistrate, while invoking Section 174 of the CrPC, has also restrained owners of the business establishments from joining direct road access to the national highway by filling up road portions dug up to lay the service lanes. The owners would have to take permission from the Ministry of Surface Transport and National Highways to gain access to the highway.

Additional police deployed

Mohali Deputy Commissioner directed SP (Traffic) Sarabjit Singh to ensure proper parking of trucks at the Balongi and Zirakpur sales tax barrier along the national highway. Deployment of permanent policemen at the sales tax barriers has been ordered.



open house
Stray dogs, simian menace in UT
Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Not brushing aside the voice of animal rights groups for protection of stray animals, there can be no dispute over the increasing unrest among the public over the menace of stray dogs and monkeys in the Union Territory. Emergency telephone handlers in the wildlife department, fire brigade and even the police confirm the trouble by the increased number of calls they receive daily.

Ask any resident, particularly in the northern sectors, including Sectors 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14, and no one can miss the problems being faced, particularly with regard to the simian “attacks”.

A maid of a house in Sector 10 fractured her leg when she tried to run indoors from a group of monkeys who wanted to snatch “chapattis” from her hand recently. Rohit, a seven-year-old in Sector 7, had his face bruised at the hands of a monkey when he tried to go near the monkey’s baby.

Not just these freak incidents, the residents in these areas have different experiences to share, which include their taps being broken, door latches twisted, refrigerators plundered and clothes torn.

No one can also deny the fact that it is virtually impossible to check the entry of simian population in the urban areas. There are no ways to check the shrinking habitat, in the natural order, which will get them visiting the city for their food.

The local chapter of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) puts the number of stray dogs in the city at less than 7,500 and which makes in approximately 75 per square kilometer of the 100 odd kilometers of the habitable area in the city. The figure of monkeys in the city has been put at less 500.

The city is also witnessing an increased number of complaints about the problem of stray dogs. The bylaws of the MC on handling the stray dogs are inadequate as is reflected by the problem on ground. On an average, the city records more than 5,000 cases of a dog bite each year. It is surely not a small number by any standards.

Law says

The government rules have clearly laid out that even the Municipal Corporation cannot resort to killing street dogs to control their population. There is also a clear provision for not dislocating the dogs from their place of stay. The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, under the Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, vide the Gazette of India: Rule 6 has said street dogs could only be sterilised and immunised to check their multiplication. The municipal authorities will have to ensure that they leave the sterilised canines back at the place from where they were picked.

Reality check

People are scared that stray dogs will bite them and cause rabies. Rabies is a fatal disease which can affect all warm blooded animals. India reports the highest number of rabies cases in the world (approximately 35,000 annually).

z Dogs bite, usually, when they are disturbed during the mating season. In the fight among themselves over the privilege of mating with a particular female, pedestrians are caught accidentally. Mothers as a measure to protect their puppies can also bite.

z Humans cannot think about a life without animals. They are always needed as a support system, even for the cities, because they are providers of the vital milk and meat supplies. The stray dogs and monkeys are also natural to our settings.

A sad truth

One cannot see any family in the city keeping a pet dog, which was of the Indian origin. They have “pugs”, “Daschund”, “German Shepherds” or many others, which are not Indian. Interestingly, Daschund cannot bear the heat and are often kept in air conditioners. Pugs develop skin problems.


It is wrong to think that stray dogs multiplied fast because a mother delivered averagely six babies at a time. Dogs have a poor survival rate, specially the stray dogs. Sterilisation has been accepted as the best way to control the stray animal population.

It has been found that stray dogs survive for eight to 10 years averagely. At the rate of producing about five to six pups every time, she was pregnant after two years, a bitch gives birth to about 50 pups in her lifetime. In reality, very few survive.

Need of the hour (dogs)

  • Lay out an elaborate sterilisation programme before any drive
  • Mark the identity of the dogs which have been sterilised
  • NGOs need to be involved in the entire exercise
  • The MC can deliberate on mercy killings (painless sodium pentothal injections) for old and diseased dogs
  • In case of the usual reality of staff shortage, the work needs to be outsourced to the NGOs

Strategy for monkeys

“Langurs” have been found to be the best solutions of scaring away the monkeys from any locality. The problem is that the city wildlife does not have adequate strength to address all complaints at the same time. The city has some private parties, too, offering the “langur” services at nominal rates. Residents of different localities are known to making contributions.

The residents should not give food articles and shelters to monkeys. The UT authorities will have to make concentrated efforts on educating the general public on different aspects of the menace. One of the ways could be handing out leaflet or book among the general public.

The government will also have to resort to the option of sterilising the monkeys, incase the population was going out of hand.

Write your experience on the stray dog and monkey menace in the city, if any, with suggestions for a possible solution to the openhouse@tribunemail.com


Hi-tech system for parking lots
MC Chief Engineer’s office sits on project
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

How will the system help?

The system will enable the staff to automatically know the number of vehicles in the parking lot by displaying the available space at its entry point. It will help streamline the parking of vehicles in a given area.

Chandigarh, January 23
The municipal corporation’s pilot project to make parking lots hi-tech in the city has been hanging fire for the past six months due to the failure of the Chief Engineer’s office to allot the work.

A semi-automatic system is to be set up at the parking lots near Sahib Singh and Empire Store in Sector 17 and at Sector 22-B and Sector 35-B.

Records revealed that on July 26 last year, the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) had approved the installation of the semi-automatic system in the four parking lots. The committee had earlier asked the contractors to install the system, failing which heavy penalty was to be imposed on them.

However, the contractors expressed their resentment and refused to take part in the auction of parking lots following the decision.

Later, the authorities decided to install the system themselves. However, the work for the installation of the system has not been allotted by the authorities to any contractor so far.

Sources said the installation of the system would cost around Rs 3 lakh and it would work on the lines of toll plazas on the highways.

MC Additional Commissioner-I TPS Phoolka said a number of reminders had been sent to the Chief Engineer’s office to speed up the allotment of the installation work but to no avail.

Electronically-managed parking lots were earlier proposed in 2003 but when a report was tabled in the MC house in this regard, it was rejected on grounds of high cost of installation and maintenance.

Similarly in 2008, as a pilot project, the corporation had decided to set up poles at four parking lots for putting up CCTV cameras to ensure proper management of the parking of vehicles. These parking lots were located at Sectors 9, 17, 35-C and Sukhna Lake.

However, the authorities took five months to install these poles after the proposal got the approval of the MC’s general house.



Now, costly medicare to be within reach of BPL families
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Costly medicare is set to be within the reach of below poverty line (BPL) persons, with the UT administration planning to tie up with major hospitals. A decision to this effect was taken during a meeting to review the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) by the Home-cum-Health Secretary recently.

The Deputy Commissioner, the Special Secretary Health, the Secretary Red Cross, the Director Health and Family Welfare, the Medical Superintendents of GMCH-32 and GMSH-16 and representatives of insurance companies attended the meeting.

It was decided that a new private hospital be identified for empanelment for the RSBY near localities, colonies and slum areas where the beneficiaries were enrolled.

It was suggested that camps be organised in colonies, particularly Colony No. 4, Indira Colony, Bapu Dham and Colony No. 5, and construction sites for awareness regarding the scheme.

The RSBY is a health insurance scheme for poor patients who fall in the BPL category. This is a cashless scheme for medical facilities of BPL families.

It covers indoor facility, which requires a minimum 24-hour stay at hospital. Under the scheme, smart cards have been made for BPL families.

It includes five members of the family, head and four dependants. The scheme includes packages covering surgical (hernia, appendicitis, gall bladder stone, kidney stone),gynaecological (fibroid, polyps) medical, paediatrics, ophthalmology (cataract), ENT (DNF surgery, Polyps surgery) and endocrinology. In Chandigarh, the scheme has been started since October last.

The hospitals in Chandigarh under the scheme are GMCH-32, GMSH-16, CHC-22, Civil Hospital, Mani Majra, Kidney Hospital, Sector 34, NINJS, Sector 34, and Grewal Eye Institute, Sector 9.



Mercury to rise, but chill to stay
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Although a clear and sunny day brought some respite from the cold this afternoon, the chill returned towards the evening. The night temperature dipped to 5.8 °C, 1.5 °C below yesterday’s 7.3 °C.

However, the day temperature rose marginally to 21.0 °C. A bright and clear sky greeted city residents at the weekend and a large number of people basked in the afternoon sun. Though the sun appeared in the morning, the second half of the day turned chilly.

The lowest temperature in plains was 1.4 °C recorded in Adampur of Punjab. Amritsar and Patiala were colder than city at 3.0 °C and 4.8 °C, respectively.

The weatherman has predicted clear and sunny days ahead and some rise in the day temperature. Maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be around 22 °C and 6 °C, respectively.

Flight and train operations remained normal for the second day today due to sunny and clear day.

The meteorological office has forecast a clear sky during the next 24 hours.

Ground frost may occur at some places in Haryana and Punjab.



Railway to spice up travel with magazine
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

‘Rail Bandhu’

The magazine, Rail Bandhu, to be launched in April, will be similar in look and feel to those provided by airlines for in-flight reading. Though it will not be sold, passengers of elite trains can carry it home

Chandigarh, January 23
As part of the move to make train travel more enjoyable, the railways has decided to launch an all-colour magazine - Rail Bandhu - to be provided free of cost to passengers of elite trains.

The magazine, to be launched in April, will be similar in look and feel to those provided by airlines for in-flight reading. “Rail Bandhu” will not be sold and passengers can carry it home.

The idea of a monthly magazine to be given to all passengers of the Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto trains was mooted by the railways’ passenger services committee.

The first edition of the magazine will initially be launched in the Northern Railway. It is slated to appear on April 16, which also happens to be the “Rail Diwas”.

According to a railway official: “In the pilot stage, it will have a print run of one lakh copies. If it proves to be a success, another 10 lakh copies will be printed.”

The official added that the initial issue would be a 100-page publication, with many general interest articles, including a short story by Ruskin Bond. And, since we are in the 150th anniversary of Tagore’s birth, the lead story will be on Tagore and how he reportedly lost and found the original manuscript of ‘Gitanjali’ while travelling on the London’s Tube Rail.

With the first issue to be distributed in northern India, there will be a focus on the northern zone of the railways.

The stories and struggles of the Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medalists from the railways will also find a mention.

The official said the magazine was initially proposed to be called “Rail Dost”, but railway minister Mamata Banerjee later suggested “Rail Bandhu”, saying it would have a nationwide appeal.



Project mgmt crucial for economic growth: Experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
The Project Management Associates (PMA), a non-profit body of project and business managers working towards strengthening project management in India, opened its sixth chapter at a function here today.

Anil Razdan, consultant (energy technologies) to principal scientific adviser to the Government of India, inaugurated the chapter.

PMA national president Adesh Jain along with several dignitaries, projects and business managers and members of the PMA was present.

Razdan said: “Project management is the key to sustained growth in the country. It is important to have a sound planning process, taking into account all possible risks, and then executing it using an aggressive approach. There will be hurdles and our challenge is to overcome them promptly.”

He called for adopting project management as the driver for growth in the 12th and 13th five-year plans.

Underlining the importance of timely completion of projects, Jain said completion of a project even one day ahead of the deadline could result in savings worth crores.

Only those having a proven track record in controlling “time” could thrive in the current global scenarios. China had 300 times more certified project managers than India, he added. Certificate in Project Management (CIPM) and IPMA 4 Level Certification are the basis for China’s certification. Many corporations like the NTPC, the IOC, SAIL, the L&T, etc. have started following this approach to provide a complete career path, he added.

BBMB chairman AB Agarwal said with project management being so vital for the economy, they would strive for creating a project culture in the region. HK Sharma, CMD, Satluj Vidyut, gave a case study of the ways to manage complex hydro-power projects and the lessons learnt.

The following were elected office-bearers of the local chapter of the PMA: president — AB Agrawal; vice-president — SK Sharma; and treasurer — Ashok Thapar.



MC moots night shelter for poor
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, January 23
The Zirakpur municipal council is mulling over constructing a night shelter for the homeless. The proposal was mooted after the local government had forwarded a letter to the engineering wing for making the provision of the shelter.

However, the council has proposed to use the community centre in ward number 5 as a night shelter. All basic amenities will be provided to the inmates, along with a common kitchen. The matter is likely to be discussed at the MC’s meeting to be held on January 24.

MC officials said they would conduct a survey of the area and maintain a proper record of the needy persons before allotting them space in the night shelter.

Sources in the MC stated that the night shelter would be provided to all needy persons, including rickshaw-pullers, as they are the ones who have to bear the brunt of the nature’s fury. Sources said a few NGOs and builders’ associations had distributed blankets among the poor. Those residing in slum areas were also given woollens and blankets.

However, the council would also ask various NGOs and other associations to come forward to solve the problem, the sources added.

Chairman of District Planning Committee, Mohali, NK Sharma stated that the local government had asked the council to provide a night shelter to the homeless. “We will use the community centre-cum-dharamshala in ward number 5 as a night shelter,” Sharma added.



Officer crunch ails administration
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
UT babus are groaning under the routine administrative work with “official crunch” plaguing the UT administration in the wake of repatriation of three officers to their parent cadre recently.

With no replacement in sight for the three repatriated officers--PK Sharma(HCS) and PS Shergill and NPS Randhawa(PCS)--in near future, the available officers will continue to be burdened with additional charges apparently affecting the administration’s functioning.

While the charges--ADC and SDM(central)--held by Shergill have been entrusted to ML Sharma, director transport-cum-sports, the departments held by Sharma,DPI(Schools), and Randhawa,director, Government Museum, and Art Gallery, and joint director,rural development and panchayats, are yet to be given. It is likely that these charges will be entrusted to existing officers before new officers join the administration.Not only HCS/PCS officers, several IAS officers are holding more than one department.

The city, which HCS/PCS officers looked upon as an ‘El Dorado’ in the past, had suddenly become an undesirable posting in the past couple of years in the backdrop of the controversy surrounding the ‘mega projects’. With two Haryana cadre officers — Krishan Mohan (IAS) and Vivek Atray (HCS) — embroiled in the row over land allotment for the projects, the provincial officers were wary of coming on deputation to the UT.

With a number of HCS officers expressing their unwillingness to join on deputation in Chandigarh, the Haryana government amended the HCS (Executive Branch)Rules, 2008, last year. Under the new rules, the consent of HCS officers for deputation to Chandigarh was not required.

The case with Punjab officers is no different.After the repatriation of former IT and public relations director MS Brar to Punjab, a comparatively junior officer MM Sabharwal,currently posted as secretary of the Chandigarh Housing Board(CHB) was sent to Chandigarh.



Reporters' Diary
A dusty welcome

Those coming from Zirakpur to Chandigarh have to face a lot of inconvenience due to dust rising from loose earth near the entry point to the City Beautiful. Maj (retd) Ranbir Singh, a resident of Jammu, whose car rammed into a truck, said “I was not able to see anything as the visibility had become zero due to the dust rising from the earth.

All I could hear was a loud bang after my car hit the truck. Driver of the truck got down and said he was not at fault as another vehicle had applied the brake suddenly.”

Facelift for Mohali

The state government has hit upon a novel idea of giving a fresh lease of life to the existing infrastructure in Mohali. In different parts of the city, a fresh coat of green and yellow paint has been done on swings and on middle steel railing around the parks, but government agencies like Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and Mohali civic body have failed to repair the broken swings. The new coat of paint has been done on the broken swings too.

MC poll

It’s action time in Chandigarh’s slums once again. With the elections to municipal corporation due later this year, Chandigarh’s two mainstream political parties-the Congress and BJP-have virtually blown the election bugle in slum colonies.

Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Pawan Bansal has already addressed a couple of rallies in slum areas.The BJP is also gearing up for the mass mobilisation in these colonies that account for a substantial share in the total vote bank of the city.

As the voting percentage in the colonies is much more than the urban areas, it is obvious that politicians should accord more importance to slum voters. “With a major political parties dependent on colonies for manpower and voters, the power will flow from the slums in the forthcoming MC poll,” said a veteran leader. Well, he is not off the mark if past electoral experience is any indication.

Sale season

It seems as winter is on the wane, the city residents have started getting what they have been looking forward to-sales. With a majority of the city’s big and small shop owners offering attractive discounts, the city residents are in for a great time while shopping.

As one saunters past the city’s markets, one is greeted by “sale” banners. Grand shopping malls, showrooms, shops, company outlets are all set to lure their customers with tempting schemes and discount that sound irresistible.

All major showrooms that sell branded stuff are also offering sale. Many showrooms are giving up to 50 per cent discount on readymade garments.

But this, they say, is just the beginning. Prem Nath from one of the outlets in Sector 19, says, “Towards the mid of February, we offer discounts up to even 60 per cent, but by then the best of our stuff is already sold.”

“We see at least three times increase in our customers during “sale” offers,” says Rajeev Jain, who owns a showroom in Sector 17.

And the people are equally delighted. They swarm to such shops in large numbers and are elated to buy their favourite accessories at discounted rates.

“I eagerly wait for the ‘sale season’, as one gets desired stuff at an affordable price,” says Suchitra Bhatnagar.

Financial crunch

In contrast to the immensely popular cultural events, Panjab University engineering students claim that participation in technical events is hardly encouraged by their departments. To facilitate participation in cultural events and youth welfare activities, PU has even established a separate department, but acquiring sponsorships for technical projects and events is an arduous task, claim students. “The process of getting sponsorships to represent the university in best technical fests of the country is so tedious that they are forced to raise funds at an individual level,” the students added.

Lily In winter

Harjeet Kaur Dhaliwal’s efforts are blooming like never before. A resident of Zirakpur, she had brought seeds of Lily from Holland and those have blossomed at her house even in January. Though, the ideal time for Lily to bloom is from May to early October, depending upon the variety, a visibly proud Harjeet Kaur is showing the flower at her house. She says, “I have earned much more then what I have spent in terms of pleasure on seeing the flower.”

— Contributed by Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Pradeep Sharma, Rajmeet Singh, Anil Jerath, Neha Miglani and Rajiv Bhatia



Bittu gears up for ‘Nav Inquilab’ yatra
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 23
Riding high on the feedback from the masses on the “Nav Inquilab Pad Yatra” recently undertaken in Punjab, the Punjab Youth Congress president and Member of Parliament (MP) from Anandpur Sahib Ravneet Singh Bittu is gearing himself for the next phase of “Nav Inquilab” campaign that would be crucial in mounting pressure on the Akali Government to perform.

In the wake of the Vidhan Sabha election due early next year, this year would be crucial for the Congress to establish contact with the masses. Talking to the Tribune here, the MP said after undertaking he had realised that the state machinery had failed to deliver to the masses and all the pillars of democracy, be it legislature, executive, judiciary and media need to be more sensitive to the needs and aspirations of the masses.

During the course of “Pad Yatra”, issues like female feoticide, drug menace, deaths in road accidents and environment protection were discussed with the masses. “Punjab is more a rich state. Poverty has creped in and is visible in the interior areas of the state. Prosperity being reflected by the state government is only one side of the coin,” he said adding that the basic issues concerning the common man needs to be addressed.

By assuring everything is right at the top level does not mean that everything was right at the bottom in a society. The MP recalled complaints about people not receiving old age pensions in villages and men in villages hooked to alcohol even when they had limited resources to run their homes.

Based on the feedback from the masses, the next phase of the campaign would focus on bring little changes in the lives of the common men with awareness about their rights being one of the areas of focus.



Days of UPA govt numbered: Chautala
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 23
The days of the Congress led UPA government were numbered and it would have to face the mid-term election as it had failed to constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee to bring out the truth in the 2G-Spectrum scam.

Stating this to the media here yesterday, Om Parkash Chautala, president of the Indian National Lok Dal, claimed that the Congress was trying to shield corrupt politicians by its refusal to order a JPC probe.

He said the party would have to dissolve the Lok Sabha if it failed to constitute the JPC to probe multi-million dollar scam.

He said the Union Government had also failed to check the rising prices of essential commodities and it had become difficult for the common man to make both ends meet.

Chautala claimed that Congress would not be able to hold the forthcoming Budget session smoothly and would have to face the mid-term election if it failed to get the budget approved from both the Houses. He said the ruling party, during its five-decade rule, had failed to implement recommendations of the commissions set up by it.

He said though the INLD was not a party of the National Democratic Alliance, his party was ready to seek support from others to dethrone the Congress government in the state.

He said there was no law and order in the state as magistrates were being attacked in the courts. The women, especially young girls, were feeling unsafe as the police had failed to take appropriate steps to protect the lives and property of people in the state. He said government officials were also acting as the agents of the Congress.



68,000 kids administered polio drops
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 23
The district health authorities today administered polio drops to 67,835 children below the age of five years as a part of the national immunisation programme beginning today.

As many as 463 booths had been set up to administer polio drops to children in the district. Twenty mobile teams have also been set up, apart from 20 transit teams to cover the maximum number of children, said Dr PK Shridhar, Civil Surgeon, Mohali.

The campaign was kicked off by Additional Secretary (Health) Gurdip Singh who administered polio drops to children at the Phase VI civil hospital.

In Mohali city, as many as 8,455 children were administered polio drops at 70 booth and four transit camps, said urban nodal officer of pulse polio campaign Dr Raju Dheer. Tomorrow the door-to-door campaign would be launched. The rural area had been divided into three blocks namely Boothgarh, Gharuan and Dera Bassi.

Dera Bassi: As a part of the polio eradication campaign, teams of the health department have administered polio drops to children below the age of 5 years with the support of some social organisations.

Nearly 28,000 children were given polio drops by setting up 179 booths, four mobile teams and 10 transit teams.

The campaign was inaugurated by SMO Dr Meea and Dr Vikrant from the health department and district coordinator Bhupinder Saini. — OC



Goods worth lakhs gutted
Tribune News Service

The room which caught fire after an inverter exploded in a house in Sector 21, Panchkula
The room which caught fire after an inverter exploded in a house in Sector 21, Panchkula, on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, January 23
A major fire broke out in a house in Sector 21 here this afternoon, which damaged furniture and other wooden articles. The owner of the house, Preeti Chaudhary, Additional Advocate General, Haryana, and wife of Sub-Divisional Officer in the irrigation department Attar Singh, said she was in the front lawn of the house as there was no power at the time of the incident.

She said when the power supply was restored there was a sudden blast in the inverter and soon the fire engulfed the two-storey house.

Preeti, who is also a daughter of Chief Parliamentary Secretary Dharam Veer, said she immediately informed the fire brigade and three tenders arrived at the site, which doused the fire within half an hour.

However, till then the whole furniture, doors windows, and five air-conditioners worth lakhs of rupees were damaged in the fire.



Police tells jewellers to secure shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
In view of the recent Tanishq dacoity case, senior police officers today convened a meeting with prominent jewellers of the city and urged them to take adequate security measures to prevent any untoward incident.

The meeting was chaired by UT Inspector General of Police PK Srivastava.

Emphasis was laid on the security of shops and manpower during the meeting.

The IGP urged them to install proper security instruments having dialer connectivity with the police control room (100) number and the police helpline.

He also urged them to install the hooter system in showrooms and CCTVs in corridors. He also appealed to them to assist the police in controlling the crime in the city.

Representatives from prominent jewellers, including Nippy Jewellers, Vishal Jewellers, Bagoo Jewellers, Rajeev Jewellers, Sethi Jewellers, Shivani Jewellers, Jain Jewellers, Krishna Jewellers, attended the meeting.

Armed dacoits had struck at the Tanishq showroom in Mani Majra and taken away jewellery worth Rs 10 crore on January 12.



‘Patriyan’ marks end of theatre fest
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 23
The weeklong sixth TFT Winter National Theatre Festival organised by the Theatre for Theatre Academy in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Culture, DPR, Haryana and Chandigarh, concluded at the Tagore Theatre here today.

A Hindi play “Patriyan” staged by Sambhav Group, Delhi, under the direction of DR Ankur, former director National School of Drama, provided the grand finale to the largely attended festival, which brought diverse theatre traditions to the city.

The play comprising two stories, “Waapsi” and “Khel” written by Hari Parkash and Sanjay Sahay delineated the pleasant and sordid realities of life in all its manifestations, which kept the audience interest alive thoroughout. Enacted first, “Waapsi” brought alive the perpetual paradigm shift in the ethical code of family life of a retired but re-employed railway official with the emergence of his progeny, the generation next.

The egoist and alcoholic head of the family , brilliantly portrayed by Amitabh Srivastva, finds himself suffocated to get along with his sons and daughters-in-law and the internal conflicts become recurrent. However, the element of pious blood relationship remains alive but subdued in the minds of parents and progeny, who sometimes attempt to harmonise the discords. Ramji Bali excelled in narrative and acting spells as also Harwinder Kaur.

Solo act performance saw the genius of Amitabh Srivastav at its best in other story “Khel”. Engaged in analszing the psyche of members of a family, leaders and others on the platform, he later finds his own traits reflected in them.

Chief guests, Dr KK Khandelwal and Samir Mathur honoured theatre director Sudesh Sharma with Haryana’s Lakhmi Chand Award carrying a tamar patar, shawl and cash prize of Rs 21,000.



Stress on need to protect nature
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Prof R Ramamurthy, eminent zoologist and former Vice-Chancellor, SV University, Tirupati, has stressed the need to protect nature for the protection of mankind.

Presenting the facts on the second day of the national seminar-cum-workshop on “Exploring new vistas in biodiversity research for sustainable development” at Panjab University today, Prof Ramamurthy listed climate change, habitat loss and degradation of eco-system, as the detrimental developments threatening the survival of mankind for long.

Alarming levels of pollution have added to the misery. “Unless we mapped, monitored, maintained, conserved and enhanced the eco-system, extinction of many species of birds, mammals, fishes and microbes will continue.”

Ramamurthy said even the existence of earthworms, which were known as farmer-friendly worms, has been affected at many places due to their decay.

He called for reviving the forest development not only at the government level but also with the cooperation of stakeholders at people level for habitat protection as well as a measure to reverse the already degraded ecology.

Earlier, RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, highlighted the relationship of certain genes, which are directly infected by microenvironment and produce certain reactions in human body causing certain diseases. Prof Sobti said even the reaction of some drugs depended on genotypes which not only differed from person to person but environment, too, had effect on the body reaction.

“We have to look at the genotype of particular ethnic group in relation to cultural and environmental factors,” he said. He spoke about the contribution of wood used as fuel and its smoke and passive smoking that posed the risk of developing cervix cancer.

During the seminar, Dr Vinod Kumar, an eminent zoologist working at the University of Delhi, called for systematic investigation into the causes of loss in biodiversity and effect of climate change factors and the duration of seasons on breading of species. He said intensity of biodiversity depended on environmental factor like temperature, light, seasons etc.



Rashtriya Vidyalaya wins parliamentary debate
Tribune News Service

Justice Swantantar Kumar of the Supreme Court of India addresses participants on ‘Asia Parliamentary Debate Championship: The Pitch 2011’ at the Army Institute of Law, Sector 68, Mohali
Justice Swantantar Kumar of the Supreme Court of India addresses participants on ‘Asia Parliamentary Debate Championship: The Pitch 2011’ at the Army Institute of Law, Sector 68, Mohali, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, January 23
Getting educated without a teacher is meaningless and the status of an educator is next to God, said Justice Swantantar Kumar of the Supreme Court of India, while addressing participants on the concluding day of the three-day “Asia Parliamentary Debate Championship: The Pitch 2011” organised at the Army Institute of Law in Sector 68 here today.

Lauding the role of students for organising the events, Justice Swantantar Kumar said it would go a long way in widening the students’ mental horizons and sharpening their critical faculties.

The event was first-of-its-kind in north India and witnessed participation by 44 teams from prestigious colleges and universities of the country like the National Law School of India University, Amity Law School, IIT (Bombay), Symbiosis Law School, IIT (Delhi), Indian Institute of Science and Education and Research and National Law University (Jodhpur).

Maj Gen B Chakravarty, chairman Army Institute of Law, said such debates and discussions also provided solutions to the problems being faced by society.

Principal, Dr Geeta Joshi expressed her gratitude towards the esteemed guests and participants from across the country for making this event a success.

The results: Winner: Rashtriya Vidyalaya College of Engineering (RVCE), Bangalore, Team A; first runner-up: Rashtriya Vidyalaya College of Engineering (RVCE), Bangalore, Team B; best adjudicator: Shobit Singhal and Ritanshu Kashyap, IIT, Bombay; best speaker: Aashay Sahay, RVCE, Bangalore.



Kiran Bedi visits city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Dr Kiran Bedi visited the city yesterday to interact with students of the Aryans Group of Colleges (AGC), Chandigarh, during a seminar on “In search of Civility: Broom and Groom India”.

Pavan Choudhary, author and TV host, was the guest of honour at the event and he shared his experiences with the audience. While addressing the students, Kiran Bedi said need of the hour was civility and courtesy. “People must be civilised now,” she said. At the occasion, Anshu Kataria, chairman of AGC, said their institutes would provide scholarships to the students in need and that they were proud to be associated with Kiran Bedi’s Navjyoti Foundation.



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