C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


R-Day Functions
Mehra overlooks key projects, harps on trivia
Gives impression city’s development has hit a wall
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The ghost of the controversial “mega” projects continues to haunt the UT administration with the adviser to the administrator Pradip Mehra harping on relatively minor civic projects, leaving the impression that meaningful development has virtually come to a standstill in the city.

In what turned out to be a lacklustre Republic Day speech characterized by significant omissions and delivered at a state-level function at the Sector 17 parade ground here Wednesday, Mehra failed even to mention some of the administration’s ongoing prominent and otherwise uncontroversial tourism related projects such as the Valley of Animals in Sector 49, Conifer Garden in Sector 52 and Japanese Garden in Sector 31. Even mention of the spruce up of the Sukhna Lake, the most frequented tourist site in the city, was missing in the speech.

Neither did the ambitious “night tourism” project envisaging illumination of the capitol complex buildings and the Rock Garden figure in the speech.

Though it was understandable that Mehra, who was engaged in a slugfest with former UT administrator Gen (retd) SF Rodrigues over the latter pet’s mega projects, would not mention the projects currently under the scanner of the central investigative agencies. Other major projects such as the modern terminal market, shifting of the grain market from Sector 26 to Sector 39 and upgrade of infrastructure in the Industrial Area were also passed over by Mehra.

Another surprising omission was the Chandigarh Technology Park where alleged irregularities in land acquisition had earned the ire of the home affairs ministry. The employment potential in the IT sector and its use for the welfare of city residents, like the proposed new e-Sampark centres, were also given a go-by.

However, minor projects including road construction, upgrade of schools and colleges, introduction of centrally sponsored schemes in the city, installation of CCTV surveillance cameras and revamp of police infrastructure took the lion’s share of Mehra’s speech.


  • “A science block is being added at Government College for Girls in Sector 46” (there is no such college in that sector). Later Mehra referred to the college as Government College for Boys in Sector 46
  • “A diabetic clinic has been opened” (but he gave no clue where)
  • “A state-of-the-art ‘underground’ police has been proposed (Mehra probably meant an underground police control room)
  • “Work on rainwater harvesting at the EDC building would be completed this year (What did he mean by EDC? Perhaps the entrepreneur development centre at the Technology Park?)

White lies

  • Mehra claimed CHB was dedicated to taking pro-poor initiatives (Fact: The latest housing scheme in Sector 51 has priced a two-bedroom flat at Rs 50 lakh)
  • Electricity supply is being distributed without any power cuts (Fact: Residents faced long unscheduled power outages during both summer and winter)


  • “Work will be undertaken on the new district courts in Sector 43”
  • “Chandigarh Housing Board is dedicated to pro-poor initiatives”
  • “CHB is in the process of constructing three underpasses”
  • “New OPD block is being added at Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16”
  • “New sports complex in Sector 39 is being planned”



Years change, speeches don’t
Mayor repeats text of R-Day speeches of his predecessors
Aarti Kapur/TNS

Chandigarh, January 27
Reflecting sloth and lack of imagination, city Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh ended up repeating the text of last year’s speech of his predecessor Anu Chatrath at the Republic Day function held by the Municipal Corporation.

Interestingly, this is the third successive repetition of the same speech considering that Chatrath had repeated the speech of her predecessor Kamlesh last January.

The three Mayors have not bothered to even change the sequence of announcements for the development of the city. To top it all, a particular mistake has been repeated in all the three texts. The spelling of shopping read as ‘shoping’ in all the three texts showcasing the casual approach in preparing the text. All the three Mayors have made the same promises: “Creating avenues for exchange of ideas and public participation for improving civic amenities, services and beautification of Chandigarh, greater transparency and accountability in functioning of the corporation, gender budgeting for the economic empowerment of women and people-friendly paid parking system.”

A senior councillor said: “I agree to the fact that the issues does not change every year. No doubt the MC is committed to complete certain ongoing projects and certain problems too remain the same. At least the priority can change which should mean a change in the copy of their text or at least the order of addressing different issues should change.”

“At least the content of message can be changed by providing the work done on the projects and the current status instead of generalized statements,” he added.

Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh denied repeating his predecessor’s speech saying, “There is no chance of repetition of speeches of Republic Day. I have myself drafted the agenda keeping in view the priorities of the MC.”


Same priorities, same sequence in speeches by Mayors Kamlesh (2009), Anu Chatrath (2010) and Ravinder Pal Singh (2011)

  • Creating avenues for exchange of ideas and public participation for improving civic amenities, services and beautification of Chandigarh.
  • Promoting greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of the MC.
  • Gender budgeting for economic empowerment of women.
  • People-friendly accountable paid parking system.



Stolen jewellery returned to Tanishq owner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
A local court today issued orders to return the entire jewellery, which was looted during the wee hours of January 12 from the Tanishq showroom in Mani Majra, to the owner of the showroom, Anil Goyal.

The Chandigarh Police had recovered the jewellery worth over Rs 9 crore from Ghaziabad following the arrest of eight members of the gang on January 15.

According to the SHO of the Mani Majra police station Rajesh Shukla, following the orders of the court, the police returned the entire recovered jewellery to Goyal today.



Keep 15% quota for poor students on hold: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Acting on a petition for directions to the UT administration to ensure that all privately run schools in the city reserve 15 per cent of seats for students belonging to economically weaker sections of the population, the Punjab & Haryana High Court today asked the schools to keep these seats vacant, at least for the time being.

The bench, in fact, directed all schools to keep 15 per cent of the seats vacant until the next date fixed for being filled up, subject to the result of the case. The directions came during the hearing of a plea by Hemant Goswami of the Burning Brain Society, the petitioner.

The UT administration had earlier claimed that, despite concessions, private schools were charging exorbitant fees - either directly or indirectly; and that these schools were not complying with its directions to strictly maintain a 15 per cent quota for economically weaker students.

In an affidavit the administration had also provided a list of 77 privately run schools in Chandigarh which were allotted land at confessional rates from time to time. The bench was also informed that, apart from the allotment of land at concessional prices, water and electricity was also being provided to the recognised schools at

special rates. The UT administration also submitted the scheme for allotting land to educational institutions in the city on leasehold basis was notified on January 31, 1996, in which it was clearly mentioned that 15 per cent or more of the seats, as may be determined by the administration from time to time, must be reserved for students belonging to economically weaker sections of the population. However, this 15 per cent quota was not absolutely free and fees would be charged at the rates applicable to government run schools, the administration had clarified.

On the other hand, one of the schools - St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44D - had added a twist to the controversy on 15 per cent seat reservation by denying the land was allotted to educational institutions at concessional rates.

It was added the discretion to admit students should remain with the schools and curbing the powers of the schools would be unconstitutional.



Cops wake up to stolen vehicles lying as junk
30% addresses turn out false
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Stolen vehicles, a majority of them two-wheelers, are lying as junk in the very backyard of the police department. Yet the police remained oblivious to it for over six long years.

In a recently initiated exercise by the UT police (Operations Cell) to check the ownership of over 1,600 unclaimed vehicles rusting at the Traffic Police Lines since 2004, cops have interestingly stumbled on a startling discovery — a large number of these vehicles are stolen ones.

This is even though these stolen vehicles figure in the FIRs registered by the police over the years, reflecting on the classic syndrome of the left hand not knowing what the right is up to.

Depicting a shoddy state of affairs - the Traffic Police never bothered to verify these impounded vehicles all these years - the verification of these rusted vehicles was initiated only last week by the Operations Cell. And what is more, police sources say that around 30 per cent of the addresses furnished by the 1,600 violators at the time they were challaned have been found to be false. For example, between January and July 2010, the police impounded 118 vehicles. A subsequent investigation revealed that 35 had false addresses, while another 15 were “discovered” as having been stolen. Then again, a motorcycle (number CH-21T-4937) belonging to a Sector 42 resident, Sidheshwar Kumar, was impounded by the Traffic police in July last year. After six months of gathering dust and rust at the Traffic Lines, it has been found that the vehicle was actually stolen from Sector 31 in May 2010 and that an FIR had also been registered in the Sector 31 police station. Similarly, a bike, impounded in January last year, had been stolen from Delhi six months earlier.

‘Not our job’

Traffic police has been impounding all those vehicles whose owners were either found not to be in possession of valid documents or for wrong parking. Verifying the ownership of these vehicles is not part of our job description. Yet we have been conducting verification of these vehicles from time to time.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) BS Negi


ICC World Cup reaches PCA Stadium
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 27
The ICC World Cup 2011 mania in the tricity received a further boost on Wednesday when its glittering trophy reached the PCA Stadium in Mohali amidst tight security.

Honorary treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) MP Pandove unveiled the trophy at the PCA Stadium. The trophy, which reached at the stadium around 2.30 pm yesterday, was received by Pandove in the presence of former Indian cricketers, including Karsan Ghavri, Pankaj Dharmani and Reetinder Singh Sodhi, Dronacharya awardee DP Azad, budding cricketers from the tricity and cricket buffs who assembled at the stadium to have glimpse of the prestigious cup.

“As we (the PCA) are hosting three world cup matches, including a semifinal in March, unveiling the trophy here is an initiative to publicise the world’s biggest cricketing battle,” said Pandove, who is also the honorary secretary of the PCA.

Earlier, cricket buffs were seen jostling to get clicked with the cup. Before reaching the PCA stadium, the trophy was put up for public display at DAV College, Sector 10, DT Mall and The Millennium School, Mohali.



The trophy, which has been the first permanent prize in the tournament’s history since 1999, is a replica of the actual trophy, which is kept by the ICC. Designed and produced in London, the 60-cm-high cup is made from silver and gild. It weighs 11 kilograms and its cost is said to be around Rs 3.25 crore.

Sidhu fails to turn up

Former international cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu did not turn up on the occasion. Earlier, the PCA officials had confirmed that Sidhu would present at the occasion.

Lukewarm response

Contrary to the expectations of the organisers, only a handful of cricket buffs reached the stadium to have a glimpse of the trophy. “Aise dekhne se kya hota hai, jab Indian team ise jeet ke layenge tabb dekhenge (What is use of seeing the trophy now. When India will clinch it, then we will see it),” said Surjit Singh and Tarun, two local youngsters outside the PCA stadium. 



Trophy visits city school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The glittering gold ICC 2011World Cup trophy was unveiled before an excited group of at least 50 budding cricketers at the Strawberry Fields World School, Sector 26 on Wednesday. The exhilaration on the school campus was palpable with young boys in their cricket whites cheering and clapping with joy.

On a closer look it was evident most of the aspiring cricketers had modelled themselves on lines of one or the other player of the national team.

When asked if his parents would object to the matches being held so close to his final exams, one of the promising bowlers replied: “My parents have no problem in case I didn’t watch the matches at the cost of my studies”.

On the occasion the school also organized a brief Republic Day ceremony with the unfurling of the Indian flag to the accompaniment of the national anthem. As the flag unfurled rose petals covered the ground, which resonated with loud cheering. The spirit of a ‘young India’ was captured in those few moments.

Said the school’s director, Atul Khanna: “Young people are the country’s future. Cricket is our national sport and it has the ability to connect and bind people. Who knows, some of these boys may go on to become promising sportsmen. But irrespective of this they’ll demonstrate a sportsman spirit that is needed today in not just sports but in all walks of life.”



Double whammy for patient
Fungus-infected saline sold to her by chemist, administered by PGI
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
A 65-year-old Mohali resident, Gurdial Kaur, undergoing treatment at the PGI, had a harrowing experience on January 18 when a chemist at the hospital sold her a “fungus-infected” bottle of saline. Without noticing the foreign particles in the bottle, negligent paramedical staff at the hospital’s Radiology Department used it to administer a dose of chemotherapy to her.

When the defiant chemist did not listen to their complaint, the sexagenarian woman, accompanied by her husband had to spend another Rs 5,000 on buying another dose of chemotherapy along with a bottle of saline. The chemist said it was the responsibility of the hospital staff to check the condition of the bottle before using it.

The couple left the hospital after losing the extra bucks and ended up staying for 12 hours at the hospital due to carelessness on part of the chemist followed by the hospital authorities.

Though inquiries by TNS revealed that a test conducted by the PGI on the bottle of saline found nothing wrong with the saline, the patient has till date not been informed about the outcome of the test.

“Thoughts of side-effects due to the infected saline solution are haunting me for the past nine days. I am not aware of the results of the tests. The PGI authorities even did not bother to inquire regarding my health after the incident,” said Gurdial Kaur.

Narrating the incident, Gurdev Singh, husband of the patient, said on January 18 when Gurdial Kaur, suffering from cancer, was being administered the medicine, the nursing staff noticed that there was a foreign particle in the saline. Presuming that the foreign particle was fungus, the saline bottle containing medicine was removed and the patient was asked to go to the Radio Therapy Department in the nearby Nehru Hospital building so that chemotherapy could be carried out under the supervision of senior doctors. However, by that time, nearly 10 millilitre of the saline had already been injected to his wife, said Gurdev Singh.

Then I went to the office of Medical Superintendent to lodge a complaint, but they refused to accept it and asked to submit the complaint to deputy director, administration (DDA). However, I am yet to hear anything from the office of the DDA, where I lodged the complaint the same day, he said.

A PGI spokesperson said the saline bottle was sent to the microbiology department for laboratory analysis and that the laboratory report was found to be negative.



‘Installing an MRI machine top priority’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Installing an MRI machine in the hospital and purchasing a mobile mammography unit for screening for breast cancers in Chandigarh will be the primary concern for the authorities at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32.

Director-Principal Dr Raj Bahadur, who was addressing the gathering after unfurling the National Flag on 62nd Republic Day on the GMCH premises, stated this.

In order to improve facilities for the faculty as well as patients, the construction work of Block-J, (animal house) and a guesthouse in residential complex at Sector 48 has been completed, he said. Ten new ventilators have been installed for intensive care of serious patients and hair transplant clinic has been started, he said. Besides, a Ksharsutra Therapy Centre with the grant-in-aid from AYUSH has been set up, he added.

Dr Raj Bahadur said the procedure of extra corporeal cryo-treatment of malignant bone tumours was carried out first time in India on a three-year-old and a 27-year-old male patient was operated upon by a team comprising Dr Mayank Jayant and Dr Uma, Department of General Surgery, for foreign body in stomach and removed about four-five spoon handles on January 24, 2011.

GMCH-32 employees Feted

Subhash Chand Bhangalia, senior assistant, Satnam Kaur, junior stenographer, Rajinder Singh, senior technician, James, medical technician, Nirmal and Paramjit, staff nurses, were awarded with commendation certificates along with cash award of ` 1,000 each for their meritorious services on the occasion.



MC to install 20 tubewells
Honours widows of martyrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
To overcome the water shortage problem in the ensuing summer season, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) is going to install 20 new tubewells in the southern sectors of the city.

Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh (Pali) said this at the Republic Day function organised on the premises of the municipal corporation.

Addressing the gathering, the Mayor said MC would spend Rs 5 crore to install tubewells. He said the projects of Valley of Animal in Sector 49 and Japanese Garden in Sector 31 would also be undertaken.

The Mayor said the pilot project of community parking in Sector 19 would be completed this year and the area for other parking lots would be identified in other Sectors to overcome the parking congestion. The proposal for constructing two marriage places in the city would also be prepared, he added.

Meanwhile, the MC also honoured five widows of martyrs in the rank of sepoy as 'Veer Naaris'. Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh and MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria honoured Swinder Kaur, wife of sepoy Mela Singh (Sikh Regiment), Karamjit Kaur, wife of Rup Singh (Indian Navy), Shamsher Kaur, wife of sepoy Mukhitar Singh (Sikh LT), Neelam, wife of sepoy Nandlal (Punjab Regiment) and Kulwinder Kaur, wife of L Naik Tirth Singh (BSF).



HUDA grapples with staff crunch
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 27
The clerical wing of the Haryana Urban Development Authority HUDA is facing the staff crunch as there are only nine clerks against 14 sanctioned posts. With around 35 sectors to look after and considerable increase in the paper work and with over 35,000 pending files, the institution is grappling with shortage of manpower.

The estate office came into existence in 1977 and junior engineers and executive engineers joined it on deputation for survey work from time to time.

There were six assistants and only seven sectors in the city then. However, the number of sectors has increased seven times, but the number of assistants has come down to four as some of them either have retired or posted to some other department.

Only nine clerks and four assistants in HUDA are looking after official work pertaining to conveyance deed, completion certificates or issuing allotment letters etc. About five posts are lying vacant against the sanctioned posts of clerks.

Besides maintaining the regular files these clerks also have to compile the data in computers manually. Lokayukta, Consumer Commission, HUDA, has also got the additional work on its hand after the introduction of the Right to Information Act and the job was also being looked after by these clerks.

According to sources, there are around 35,000 files related to plots pending with various sections of HUDA and the staff crunch was adding to the delay in disposing of cases. There are about 3,400 files with every clerk in the estate office pertaining to various works and about 800 court cases pending against HUDA has further compounded the problem as on any given day of the week clerks have to accompany the officials to the court.

Incidentally, HUDA was awarded with “Best Enabled PSU” on August 5 last year. On February 12, 2009, the body was awarded with “National e-governance Award” for the best use of infrastructure and communication technology for 2008-09.

Estate officer, HUDA, Ashwani Kumar, said the matter regarding the shortage of staff was brought to the knowledge of higher authorities and he hoped that some of the posts would be filled soon. Meanwhile, the present available staff was trying to provide better facilities to allottees.

Keeping in view the increased workload, HUDA requires about 10 assistants and the same number of record keepers to clear or maintain the files. One of the clerks is working as an assistant and the body was now seeking the services of beldars and chowkidars who now assist the clerks in clearing the pending files.

There is only one patwari in the estate office to resolve the issues regarding the revenue records, as the posts of naib tehsildar, kanungo and clerks are lying vacant.

35,000 files pending

There are around 35,000 files related to plots pending with various sections of HUDA and the staff crunch was adding to the delay in disposing of cases. There are about 3,400 files with every clerk in the estate office pertaining to various works and about 800 court cases pending against HUDA has further compounded the problem as on any given day of the week clerks have to accompany the officials to the court

Chowkidars work as clerks

Keeping in view the increased workload, HUDA requires about 10 assistants and the same number of record keepers to clear or maintain the files. One of the clerks is working as an assistant and the body was now seeking the services of beldars and chowkidars who now assist the clerks in clearing the pending files



Advanced Trauma Centre at PGI in Feb: Dr Talwar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is all set to open its Advanced Trauma Centre from next month.

PGIMER Director Professor KK Talwar stated this after unfurling the National Flag here yesterday. Addressing the audience, Professor Talwar said in order to overcome the shortage of manpower, the recruitment process for 177 faculty members had already started. This would make up to some extent for the shortage of doctors in the institute, he said.

Taking on the steps taken for improving the infrastructure at the institute, Talwar said the PGI administration had been trying its best to provide staff members pay scales on the pattern of AIIMS and in the past six months, about 320 employees of different sections have been recruited, 108 promoted, 50 confirmed and eight have been given financial upgradation.Dr Talwar said the Advanced Cardiac Centre’s cardiovascular surgery programme has been expanded and during the last one-year, about 1,500 open-heart surgeries have been performed. This number has increased three times when compared to the number of surgeries done in the last four-five years.

In the field of telemedicine facility, the PGI has taken a leap with providing medical expertise to 20 hospitals of major states, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. Students of medical colleges of these states are also being provided tele-education. The PGI is the first centre in the country to provide telemedicine facility to SAARC countries.

Nepal prez to visit PGI

Nepalese President Dr Ram Baran Yadav will be the chief guest on the occasion of annual convocation of the PGI to be held on February 4. Yadav, an alumnus of the PGI, was awarded with a degree in internal medicine in 1985. It will be Yadav’s first visit to the city after he was elected President of Nepal in 2008.



SMV Agencies told to refund Rs 71 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The UT State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has directed Chandigarh-based SMV Agencies Pvt Ltd to refund Rs 71 lakh along with interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum to three complainants for not giving the possession of their flats in time.The forum also directed the company to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation to each of the complainants for mental agony and harassment caused by them.

According to one of the complainants, Meenu Arora, a resident of Sector 45, she booked a flat (Q-206) in August 2006 and deposited a total amount of Rs 20, 67,569 in instalments. As per the complaint, the respondent had undertaken to deliver the possession of the flat by the end of year 2008.

However, the complainant alleged that the company failed to even start the construction by year 2008 end. She subsequently asked the company for refund, they didn’t respond to it.

In their response, the SMV Agency admitted that the project got delayed due to some unforeseen circumstances but now the construction was in full swing and the possession of the flat was slated to be handed over by July 2011.

The commission didn’t agree to the contention of the Agency and held it responsible for mental agony caused to the complainants. The Commission, comprising Presiding member, Neena Sandhu and member Jagroop Singh Mahal, directed the Agency to refund the deposited money along with interest and compensation of Rs one lakh to each of the complainant.



Veer Ras Kavi Sammelan
Eminent poets enthral audience
SD Sharma

Panchkula, January 26
Hindi poets of national eminence regaled large audience at the Inderdhanush Auditorium on Republic Day in a ‘Veer Ras Kavi Sammelan’ organised by Sanskar Bharti in association with the District Public Relations here yesterday.

The programme commenced with melodious patriotic song by Dr Arvind Sharma and a ‘Dhaye geet’ by his disciples. Eight poets took the centre stage only to spell magic with rendition of their verses, all exuding the love for motherland in heroic sentiment. Besides, the verses replete with humour and satire eloquently juxtaposed the corruption prevalent in every field of life but with a suggestive approach.

Sitapur-based Kamlesh Maurya Mridu led the poets, including Shiv Kumar Vyas (Barabanki) Ram Kishore Tiwari (Lucknow), Dr Arjun Singh Sisodia (Delhi), Satyandera Senger (Rewa), Kamal Saxena (Bareily), Vaagish Dinkar (Gazibad) and Dr Ashok Batra (Haryana).

Earlier, Kamtanath Vaishampayan, national secretary, Sanskar Bharti, welcomed chief gust Dr KK Khandelawal who along with Jeevan Parksah Aggarwal and others lighted the traditional lamp and later honoured the poets. Bama Akademy of Fine Arts had displayed paintings on veer ras.



Patil hosts ‘At Home’

Chandigarh, January 27
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil was “At Home” with distinguished citizens of Punjab and Chandigarh at Punjab Raj Bhawan here yesterday.

The invitees from different walks of life started converging on Punjab Raj Bhavan before the start of the ceremony to greet the Governor.

Sucha Singh Langah, Punjab Agriculture Minister, Punjab Chief Secretary, SC Agarwal, PS Gill, Punjab DGP, Ravinder Pal Singh, Mayor, Pradip Mehra, Adviser to Administrator, Ram Niwas, UT Home Secretary, VK Singh, UT Finance Secretary, and PK Srivastava, IGP, were prominent among those present. — TNS



Una-Haridwar train introduced
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Travelling to Haridwar, the sacred place of Hindus, has become easier and comfortable for people of Chandigarh and the lower areas of Himachal Pradesh with the flagging-off of Una-Haridwar link train on January 25, adding another chapter in the history of the rail network of northern region.

Union Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee kept her promise with the introduction of Una-Haridwar train, a senior railway official said here today.

Senior divisional commercial manager, Northern Railway, Ambala Division, GM Singh said the Una-Haridwar train would run thrice a week. He said the train number 12064 would leave Una at 5 am and reach at Haridwar at 1.55 pm every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

The train will also make a halt for 10 minutes at the Chandigarh railway station from 7.23 am. On its back journey, the Haridwar-Una train number 12063 would depart from Haridwar at 2.35 pm and will reach at Una at 10.10 pm every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

“It was a long-standing demand of the people of Chandigarh and Himachal to start a direct train service between Una and Haridwar to facilitate the devotees,” Singh said.

With the introduction of this train, link service will be provided through Una-Delhi Jan Shatabdi, which will be attached with one extra AC and two non-AC wagons. These wagons will then be detached at Ambala and linked to Amritsar-Haridwar Jan Shatabdi, the official said.



223 units of blood donated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The Canara Bank Officers' Association, Chandigarh Region, organised a blood donation camp at the bank's circle office in Sector 34-A hereon the occasion of Republic Day in association with the Department of Transfusion Medicine, PGI , Chandigarh.

AG Gururaj Murthy, General Manager, Canara Bank, Chandigarh, inaugurated the camp.

Rajinder Garg (150th time) and Pragraj Sharma (172nd time) were the star donors at the camp where 223 units of blood were donated.

Members of the association along with their family members from Chandigarh and nearby places like Ambala, Karnal, Ludhiana, Patiala, Panchkula and Mohali donated blood.



Tributes paid to Pt Bhimsen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 27
On the sad demise of doyen of Kirana Gharana, Bharat Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, who passed away on January 24, a condolence meeting was organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi at its auditorium here today.

Pt Bhimsen Joshi, a leading Hindustani classical vocalist, who was well known for his Khayal Gayaki and was equally known for his renditions of devotional as well as Marathi Natya Sangeet.

Prof Pandit Yash Pal, a renowned classical vocalist of north India and Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee, flautist Ravinder Singh, sitarist Harvinder Sharma, classical vocalist, Dr Arvind Sharma, Chandigarh, renowned Bharatnatyam dancer Suchitra Mitra, music director Virender Bachchan, famous theatre personality GS Channi, Kamal Tewari, chairman CSNA, N Khosla IAS (retd), classical vocalist, Dr Vanita were among those present on the occasion. They paid rich tributes to this legendary singer, highlighting his achievements and musical journey.



HJC workers burn Hooda’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 27
Hundreds of workers of the Haryana Janhit Congress burnt the effigy of Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda near the Sector 17-18 roundabout here today demanding a CBI inquiry into the multi-crore Gurgaon DLF land scam.

Addressing the protesters, Dalbir Singh, in charge of Ambala parliamentary constituency, alleged that Hooda was favoring the real-estate builders by providing them land at throwaway prices. He said the government should issue white paper over the issue as the farmers’ land has been acquired at lower rates and given to the real estate builders at rates much below the market price.

Dalbir Singh also demanded a fresh CBI probe into the Mirchpur incidents, as the Dalit victims were yet to get justice. He said the state government has failed to punish those who conducted atrocities on poor. He said there was rampant corruption in the state and people had to grease the palm of officials for getting even small jobs done.

Speaking on the occasion, district president of the HJC Ram Gopal Mehta said the state was facing severe law and order problem as incidents of chain snatchings, dacoities and murders were being reported in every part of the state. He said the police had failed to nab criminals.



Housing society alleges misuse of funds
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 27
Members of the Angel Apartments Co-op GH Society Ltd, Sector 24, here have alleged misappropriation of funds by the management of the society.

The members of the society alleged that the management had accepted the resignation of the president and the secretary and nominated new members, cashier and president, at their place in violation of the society byelaws.

They further alleged that tender for the construction of the society flats was allotted to the president without observing any formalities, which is a violation of the bylaws of the society as no member or his relative could be allotted construction work of the society.

They further alleged that the society management had played with the society funds for their personal benefits without taking into confidence the other members. They alleged that more than Rs 70 lakh were given to Darbarilal Foundation Educational Society and others from the society funds and added that the secretary and cashier of the society had misused Rs 5 lakh by manipulating the entries in the accounts ledger.

They further claimed that they had already approached the Registrar Cooperative societies for holding an inquiry in this regard.

When contacted, Sanjiv Gupta, secretary of the society, while refuting the allegations as baseless, said open tenders were invited as per the norms and construction work was allotted to the contractor offering the lowest bid.

He said decisions, including the funds given to the DLF Educational Society and others on interest, were taken after seeking approval from the general house.

The society members claimed that recently the newly appointed president and cashier of the society had resigned from their posts in the executive committee in view of the large-scale bungling in the society funds.

They alleged that the society management was giving huge amounts to private parties on interest from the funds, which they had deposited with the society after taking housing loan from banks.

They further alleged that society was also favouring some of the members by not demanding their share, which the other members have already deposited.



Dacoity in Berkeley Automobiles
Police still groping in the dark
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 27
Even after more than 10 days the police is still groping in the dark in the Berkeley Automobiles dacoity in which some unidentified persons decamped with Rs 14.5 lakh after killing the security guard with a blunt weapon on the night of January 16.

According to sources, the police was pinning its hope on the fingerprint report from Central Scientific Forensic Laboratory in Madhuban. However, chowkidar Ram Bahadur, who had come to join his duty at about 8 am on January 17 at the showroom, located in Phase I, Industrial Area, and sweeper Dheeraj had also left their fingerprints while searching for the victim. Sources said even the authorities, who had informed the police about the incident, had touched many items in the showroom, making it difficult for the police to match the fingerprints with that of the accused.

Sources further said the police was working on various theories and one of them being that the assailants must have first befriended the victim and got the information as to where the money was kept on Sundays.

Now, the police was pinning its hope on the 15 teams, which were conducting raids at the possible hideouts of the attackers in UP, Delhi, and Punjab areas. The police has also started investigations in open border area of Baltana as it was a safe haven for the criminals, besides inquiring the residents of Sector 19, Harmilap Nagar and Abhaypur village.

The police is also of the view that the accused must have stayed in a rented accommodation in Abhaypur village where the victim resided along with his family members. The police was also interrogating the migrant labourers living in the village besides inquiring whether anyone had left the locality before or immediately after the dacoity.

Sources further said the police was taking it as a challenge to crack the case as it was for the first time in the town that attackers had killed the security guard before conducting the loot. A meeting of the top police officials was also held on Saturday evening to decide the further strategy to nab the culprits.

Superintendent of Police Maneesh Chaudhary said earlier they suspected it to be the handiwork of a former security guard of showroom who was presently working in Delhi. But during interrogation it was revealed that he was in Delhi at the time of the incident.

He said the brother of one of the employees was also arrested as he was released from jail about one-and-a-half month back. However, during investigation the police came to know that he was not involved in the robbery, but had confessed that he was involved in recent snatching incidents.

Chaudhary said his teams were working on various theories and were conducting raids at the possible hideouts in various areas of Punjab. He said they were hopeful that the criminals would be nabbed as soon as possible as the police was not leaving any stone unturned.



More trenches dug to plug access to highway
Tribune New Service

Zirakpur, January 27
Continuing its drive, workers of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) along with those of the local administration today dug trenches outside Sharma farmhouse and other properties to prevent direct access to the national highway between Zirakpur and Ambala.

A GMR official stated direct access from the farmhouse to the highway, another entry of Dashmesh Marbles and property dealers’ shops way closed. “Trenches were also dug up again at Swami Motors as the latter’s staff had filled up the trenches with sand”, he added.

On Tuesday NHAI had closed 21 illegal entries to the national highway after digging the trenches and also removed about 41 kinnow vendors from the stretch.

The official said direct access to the highway from Silver City, Bristol hotel, Gulistan Farms, Swami Motors and other properties had been shut off.



Sanitation needs urgent attention: Ex-councillors
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 27
As many as 20 former municipal councillors have complained of poor sanitation in the town and demanded that the work of removing unauthorised rehris should be privatised to curb corruption.

At a meeting called by Commissioner of the Mohali municipal corporation Parveen Kumar, to know about the problems faced by residents, the councillors pointed out that the state of sanitation was poor and needed immediate intervention to bring about an improvement.

SS Barnala, former councillor from Phase XI, said heaps of garbage were seen lying in various parts of the town which were not lifted on a regular basis. Even the safai sewaks deployed by the contractors for cleaning purposes were less than the number specified in terms of the agreement resulting in poor work.

He said it was brought to the notice of the Commissioner that employees of the corporation allegedly took bribes from those who were illegally plying rehris in the town and as such failed to check the menace. He said the position was very bad in the evenings in Phase XI as illegal rehris, parked along the main road, prove to be a big traffic hazard.

Councillors suggested that the menace of illegal rehris could be checked only if the work was privatised as various efforts of the civic body to control the situation failed to yield any positive results.

Kuljit Singh Bedi, former municipal councillor of Phase III-B2, said another suggestion given by councillors was that the corporation should take over the work of maintaining parks from the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) as the work was not being done in a satisfactory manner.

Residents made complaints about poor upkeep of the parks to elected representatives who at times proved helpless as the work was with GMADA.

Councillors belonging to the ruling group of the recently dissolved municipal council did not attend the meeting called by the Commissioner.

A meeting was later also held with representatives of welfare bodies. Issues like stray animals, non-functional streetlights, parking problems, cleanliness of road berms and road gullies, etc were discussed.

In order to bring about an improvement in sanitation, the Commissioner had ordered the setting up of four zonal complaint centres for the convenience of residents. Sanitary inspectors of the four zones have also been asked to be available at these centres from 9 am to 1 pm.

Such complaint centres have been set up in the Silvi Park in Phase X, Rose Garden in Phase III-B1, fire station in the Phase I industrial area, and one in the Phase VII industrial area.

Heaps of garbage can be seen lying in various parts of the town which are not lifted on a regular basis. Even the safai sewaks deployed by the contractors for cleaning purposes are less than the number specified in terms of the agreement resulting in poor work

— SS Barnala, former councillor from Phase XI



Experts to brainstorm on election reforms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, political leaders, academicians, jurists and even scholars from the region are set to put their heads together on February 5 to discuss the modes of strengthening the electoral system. Criminalisation of politics and financing of elections are among the issues scheduled to come up during the discussion.

In fact, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice, in association with the Election Commission of India, is holding a “Regional Conference and Consultation” in the form of a seminar at 10.00 am on February 5 at the Chandigarh Judicial Academy, Sector 43, Chandigarh.

The conference is being organised, supervised and coordinated by Additional Solicitor-General of India Mohan Jain. He is also instrumental in mobilising the participation throughout.

Available information suggests the Union Law Minister will hold discussions with participants from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and J&K. Besides criminalisation of politics and financing of elections, the deliberations are expected to cover topics including, conduct of elections, polling irregularities, corrupt practises apart from religion and caste based mobilisation of voters.

Practical means to eradicate “the evils plaguing the electoral system” will also be suggested. Research and theme papers would be read over and discussed during the seminar.

Jain said, “With a view to strengthen our electoral system, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice has taken a lead and constituted a committee on electoral reforms to suggest concrete steps for implementation.”

“This committee will consider opinions of political leaders, academicians, journalists, legal luminaries, experts, the NGOs, scholars and other stake holders in the field,”he said.



Patriotic fervour marks R-Day celebrations

Schoolgirls perform after the parade in Chandigarh
Schoolgirls perform after the parade in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Vinay Malik
Students perform at Government College, Phase VI, Mohali
Students perform at Government College, Phase VI, Mohali. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu
Haryana Police commandos perform in Sector 5 in Panchkula
Haryana Police commandos perform in Sector 5 in Panchkula. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh Administration celebrated the Republic Day enthusiastically at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, yesterday. Adviser to the UT Administrator, Pradip Mehra unfurled the National Flag and took salute from various contingents participating in the parade. Tableaus from different departments, including forest department, Government College of Arts, Chandigarh Architecture College, Director of Industries, PEC University of Technology, Director, Census Operations; Adult Education, Chandigarh; Chandigarh State AIDS Control Society and Indian Red Cross Society, were the major attraction. A colourful cultural programme was also presented by students of Government Model High School, Sector 28, and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10.

The Chandigarh Police received the overall best contingent award. Home Secretary Ram Niwas, Finance Secretary VK Singh, IGP PK Shrivastava, SSP Naunihaal Singh, chairman of CHB Mohanjeet Singh, Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh, MC Commissioner Roshan Sankaria and MC Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh were prominent among those present. — TNS

Govt school-22

Government High School, Sector 22, headmaster Raj Kishan unfurled the National Flag on the occasion of Republic Day celebrations. Teachers gave motivational talk, inspiring students to follow the path of martyrs, who laid their lives for the freedom of the nation. The students recited poems and also sang patriotic songs.

Govt school-Daria

A cultural programme at Government High School, Daria, was the highlight of the Republic Day celebrations in the school. The village sarpanch presiding over the function gave an inspirational talk to the gathering. The students presented an impressive performance of cultural items on the occasion.

Govt School-26

Different shades of the freedom struggle movement were showcased in a cultural show at Government Middle School, Sector 26. Headmaster Shashi Kumar unfurled the National Flag. He asked the students to strive for excellence in their respective fields for taking the country ahead.

Govt school- Raipur Kalan

Patriotic songs marked the Republic Day function in Government Middle School, Raipur Kalan. Headmistress Anita Gupta goaded the students to understand the importance of fulfilling their duties towards the country.


Tributes were paid to the martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the nation at the Republic Day function in DAV SSS (Lahore), Sector 8. School principal, Dr Vibha Ray, unfurled the National Flag and released tricoloured balloons. A show on the Indian dogmas and superstitions and performance on the patriotic song “Kar chale hum fida jaan saathiyo” were appreciated by the audience.

Ryan International

A multi-lingual show marked the Republic Day celebrations at Ryan International School. Special speeches were delivered in Hindi, English, Punjabi and French, highlighting the importance of the day. Principal Poonam Sharma unfurled the National Flag to mark the occasion.

Mount Carmel

Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, made special emphasis on involving the maximum students in the function and the school was reverberating with a patriotic fervour on the occasion. Purti Kalra, school captain (girls), welcomed the guests. Principal Charles Samuel took the salute of the marchpast. Jeremy Ben Thomas, school captain (boys), proposed a vote of thanks.

Heritage school

Explaining the importance of the pledge of the Constitution, The Heritage Public School principal Preeti Sandhu exhorted the students to follow the same in letter and spirit for ensuring the unity and integrity of the country.

Sri Guru Harkrishan

Patriotic fervour overwhelmed the students at Sri Guru Harkrishan Senior Secondary Public School, Sector 40 C, on the Republic Day celebrations. The programme commenced with Vande Matram followed by flag hoisting. — TNS

Special award

MOHALI: A captivating event on the importance of a girl child was the highlight of the district-level Republic Day function organised at Government College, Phase VI, here yesterday. Moved by the performance and message given by the students, Punjab agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langha after hoisting the Tricolour announced a special award of Rs 1 lakh to the performing team.

Earlier the minister took salute from an impressive marchpast by the Punjab Police contingent led by DSP Rajwinder Singh Sohal.

The minister honoured following persons for their contribution in various fields: ASI Ram Darshan for cracking theft cases, Bahi Lakhwinder Singh (former priest of Golden Temple), Onkar Singh (renowned martial arts performer), Paramdeep Singh (working for welfare of senior citizens and anti-tobacco drive), Arvinder Singh Grewal (manufacturer of Commonwealth Game mascot ‘shera’), Nardev Sharma (spreading education in rural areas), Balwinder Singh (for checking illegal mining), JP Singh (social worker), Dr Jai Singh (district health officer), Sanjeev Kumar (international football player), Baljit Singh Walia (assistant estate officer GMADA), Harpreet Singh (for organising placement drive for 2,600 students), Paramdeep Singh Baidwan (for acting in film ‘No One Killed Jessica), head constable Reeta Rani (sports), Dr Sarbjeet Kaur Sohal (education), Meena Sharma (education), Gurjant Singh, Rajesh Kumar, Simranjeet Kaur, Harleen Kaur, Sabina Begum, Harhemleen Kaur, all for excellence in sports and education. — TNS

Smart Wonders

MOHALI: Tricolour donned the campus of Smart Wonders School, Sector 71, Mohali, on the occasion of Republic day celebrations yesterday. Patriotic fervour and enthusiasm marked the cultural programme. — OC

St Soldier

The management, staff and students of St Soldier School, Mohali, showcased their patriotic fervour by enthusiastically celebrating in the Republic Day celebrations. — OC

Gian Jyoti

Students and staff of the Gian Jyoti Group of Institutes celebrated the Republic Day with enthusiasm in its Phase II, Mohali campus. —OC

Lawerance school

Lawerance Public Senior Secondary School wore a festive look as students adorned it with self-made tricolour flags. — OC

Bravery award

PANCHKULA: Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia unfurled the Tricolour at the Republic Day function held at the Sector 5 parade ground here yesterday. Pahadia said Haryana had witnessed rapid growth in all sectors, including agriculture, education, sports, industries, health, information technology, tourism, social welfare, water supply and sanitation and preserved its rich cultural heritage.

The Governor honoured two children, 10-year-old Prachi, a resident of Muradgarh Indri village, Karnal district, and nine-year-old Vishal, a resident of Asaudah village, Jhajjar district, for bravery. He also honoured freedom fighter Deshraj Pardesi, widows of martyrs and wives of freedom fighters.

Swami Devi Dyal

Students and staff of the Swami Devi Dyal Group of Professional Institutes celebrated the Republic Day on the college premises in Barwala today. Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia awarded trophy for the best performance to about 60 students of the institute, who had participated in the state-level Republic Day function. — TNS

ZIRAKPUR: The District Planning Board chairman and municipal council (MC) president Narinder Kumar Sharma unfurled the National Flag at the MC office yesterday to mark the Republic Day celebrations. Meanwhile, the Youth Welfare Club, Baltana, also celebrated the Republic Day with great fervour. Kulwinder Singh Sohi, vice-president, MC Zirakpur, unfurled the National Flag. — TNS

AMBALA: The Republic Day was celebrated at Chaman Vatika with great nationalistic spirit. Chairman Rajinder Nath hoisted the National Flag. Principal Michael D'Souza emphasised on the noble notions that brought the real meaning of sovereign, social and secular. A function was also organised at Delhi Public School. Principal Bhushra Ahuja unfurled the National Flag. A cultural function was also organised.

DAV College, Ambala City, also celebrated the Republic Day. Principal CK Yadav unfurled the National Flag. A cultural show was organised in Dev Samaj Girls’ Senior Secondary School on the occasion of Republic Day. The principal unfurled the National Flag. SA Jain Senior Secondary School also organised a function on the occasion. GRSD Senior Secondary School principal Rajiv Aggarwal unfurled the National Flag on the Republic Day function organised on the school premises. — OC

20 honoured

PATIALA: Twenty persons were honoured for their contribution in various fields in Patiala by Punjab cabinet minister Tikhsan Sud at the district-level Republic Day function at the YPS Stadium in Patiala. Sportspersons, including shooter Heena Sidhu, archer Gagandeep Kaur and athlete Harminder Singh were also honoured on the occasion. Others honoured include Zee TV Sa Re Ga Ma Pa winner Kamal Khan, SP Operations Patiala SS Boparai. — TNS

Sacred Soul’s

KHARAR: Sacred Soul’s School, Gharuan, Mohali district, celebrated the Republic Day on the school premises. School director Gurpal Singh hoisted the Tricolour. Students performed an impressive marchpast. An inter-house quiz competition was also organised to mark the occasion. — TNS

KALKA: The Republic Day was celebrated in Kalka, Pinjore and its vicinity with great enthusiasm and patriotic zeal. Chief guest Vandana Disodia, SDM Kalka, unfurled the Tricolour. Schoolchildren presented a cultural programme to mark the occasion. Railway employees also organised a programme at the Railway Sports Ground to mark the occasion. — OC

DERA BASSI: A block-level function was organised to mark the Republic Day celebrations yesterday. SDM Puneet Goyal unfurled the National Flag. Schoolchildren performed the cultural items showing the sacrifices of freedom fighters. — OC



PU Notes
‘Festival of letters’

CHANDIGARH: The Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi in collaboration with Panjab University (PU) is organising the “Chandigarh Festival of Letters 2011” from January 28 to 30. Prof Manju Jaidka, chairperson, Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi (CSA), informed that the three-day festival is a judicious mix of paper presentations, lectures, readings and discussions with a quiz contest before the grand finale. Dr Karan Singh, MP Rajya Sabha and president, ICCR, will deliver the inaugural address on January 28. There will be a felicitation ceremony, too, and awards of recognitions will be conferred on selected Chandigarh writers.

Moot court contest

The department of laws and University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) in collaboration with the Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation is organising the national rounds of “Second Leiden - Sarin International Air Law Moot Court Competition” at the Moot Court Hall on the university campus on Saturday. Mr Justice GS Singhvi, Judge of the Supreme Court, will deliver the inaugural address.

Mr Justice Ranjan Gogoi, acting Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, will preside over the inaugural function. Mr Justice Markandey Katju, Judge of the Supreme Court, will deliver the valedictory address.


Dr Dilip Kaur Tiwana, an eminent writer, Sahitya Academy and Saraswati award winner, addressed research scholars of the department of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies on the Panjab University campus here today and gave an informal talk on “Guru Granth Sahib - The Eternal Truth”. Dr Tiwana focused on the relevance of teachings of Guru Granth Sahib in the era of globalisation.


The two-day seminar on “Globalisation, urbanisation and migration: Anthropological dimensions of trends and impacts” hosted by the anthropology department of Panjab University as a part of the department’s Golden Jubilee celebrations was inaugurated today. Over 150 delegates from various parts of the country attended the seminar. The first day’s deliberations were centered on 27 scientific papers presented in three sessions, namely, energetics and human growth, ecology and epidemiology and globalisation, urbanisation and westernisation. — TNS



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