C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Seven of 11 SHOs have Questionable credentials
Have either been pulled up for negligence, issued censure notices or been denied increments
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Vested with the responsibility of managing crime in their jurisdiction and responsible for all crucial and day-to-day investigations, seven of the 11 Station House Officers (SHOs) currently posted in the city’s 11 police stations have either been pulled up for negligence and issued censure notices or been awarded punishment comprising loss of increment time and again in the not so distant past.

Raising a question mark on their ‘efficiency’ and possibly highlighting the shortage of capable officers in the police force, seven of the 11 SHOs have been held guilty for repeated gross misconduct and negligence in tackling crime.

Information procured under the Right to Information Act filed by Chandigarh Tribune has revealed that seven of the 11 SHOs have been censured or punished a total of 34 times in their career.

The most stark is the case of Inspector Rajesh Kumar Shukla, who is currently posted as the SHO of Manimajra police station. He has been punished for dereliction of duty a whopping 16 times in his career, including a loss of seven increments, between 1986 and 2010. His present appointment as SHO appears to be in violation of the Punjab Police Rules as clearly depicted in the reply (See BOX). Seven of the 16 notices issued to Inspector Shukla involve punishments that have comprised stoppage of increment.

Interestingly, three of the seven SHOs have been censured as recently as 2010 while they were posted as in-charge of their respective police stations.

The ‘magnificient’ seven

Inspector Rajesh Kumar Shukla

SHO Mani Majra Police station

Punished and held negligent 16 times in his career

The reply received under the RTI reveals that Shukla’s appointment as the SHO of Manimajra police station in 2010 is in blatant violation of Punjab Police Rules. Rule 13 of Punjab Police Act, 2007, under which SHOs are appointed, states that an SHO should not have been awarded a major punishment during a period of five years preceding his posting as Station House Officer. On the contrary, Inspector Rajesh Shukla was awarded punishment involving stoppage of two increments with permanent effect vide an order dated March 23, 2010. He was punished after a departmental inquiry indicted him for turning a blind eye to drug peddling in his area when he was accused of accepting benefits from a drug mafia while being the SHO of Sector 39 police station in 2008.

Out of the 16 times he has been held negligent, he has been censured nine times and was also awarded punishments with stoppage of increments seven times.

Shukla was issued a censure notice in 1986, 1997, twice in 1998, twice in 1999, twice in 2003 and then again in 2004. He was awarded punishment that involved stoppage of two increments in 1997, again punished with loss of two increments each in 2000 and 2001, twice in 2002 and again punished in 2003. Shukla’s lengthy list of non-performance and negligence include delay in disposal of a case file in 1999; failing to hand over the charge after transfer; keeping investigations pending for long; failure to respond to a show cause notice issued to him five times in 1999; hushing up a case of serious nature in a negligent manner in 1995; sitting on a case of Excise Act in which he was the investigating officer; and for not disposing off liquor bottles in 2002; for conducting shoddy probes; and loosing case files among other acts of dereliction of duty.

Inspector Mahavir Singh

SHO Sector 3 police station

Censured twice:2003 and 2010

Despite instructions by the court, Inspector Mahavir Singh failed to provide blankets and cardiology facilities to Baba Pritpal Singh, chairman of Gurudwara Gur Sagar Sahib, who was arrested in a cheating case by the Crime Branch in December 2008. Baba Pritpal Singh, being a heart patient, had pleaded for blankets in the biting cold. The SHO went on to abuse, shout and misbehave with the investigating officer, Inspector Amanjot Singh, who apprised him about the instructions by court to provide blankets over the telephone. “The SHO being an investigating officer should have acted with more maturity and responsibility which he failed,” read the censure notice issued after Inspector Amanjot complained about him. Inspector Mahavir Singh was also issued a censure notice in 2003 for his carelessness and ‘lack of supervision’ when an accused managed to attempt suicide in police custody while he was posted as a Sub Inspector in police station, Sector 39.

Inspector Jaspal Singh

SHO Sector 31 police station

Censured twice:2000 and 2005

During his posting as Sub Inspector in Sector 34 police station in the year 2000, the SHO misbehaved with the complainant in a landlord tenant dispute. “Jaspal Singh is often in the habit of helping the landlord in a landlord tenant dispute and his public dealing is not good,” reads the censure notice issued to him by then SSP Parag Jain. He was again censured in 2004 when he was found present at a police barrier in plain clothes. When a head constable went to report to him, the Inspector slipped away from there. “It’s a serious lapse by a member of the disciplined force,” read the censure notice.

Inspector Janak Singh Rana,

SHO Sector 19 police station:

Censured twice: 1998 and 2010

“While posted as the SHO of Sector 39 police station in 2009, Inspector Janak Rana deliberately attempted to slow down the operation when the administration was evacuating illegal occupiers of the booths in Sector 41. “Calls for serious lapse and dereliction of duty,” reads a censure notice.

Inspector Kirpal Singh

SHO, Sector 34 police station:

Censured thrice for negligence and dereliction of duty:

1995, 2000 and 2004

Was censured in 2004 after he failed to prove in court the involvement of a person booked for molesting a woman. The Director of Prosecution reported that the case failed in the absence of any witnesses by police leading the acquittal of the accused. He was then censured for misconduct and dereliction of duty.

Inspector Sukhbir Singh Rana

SHO, Sector 36 police Station

Censured five times:1997, 1998, 2004 and twice in 2005

“He failed to take any action under any local and special law and has been censured for poor performance,” reads the notice issued to him in 2005. In 2004, an accused in a drug peddling case, was acquitted after Inspector Sukhbir Singh Rana delayed sending a sample to the CFSL and for mishandling the case.

Inspector Malkiat Singh

SHO, Industrial Area Police Station

Censured four times:2000, 2005 and twice in 2006

While posted as a Sub Inspector in police station Sector 26 in 1999, he was looking after investigation of seven cases. He was transferred to VIP security and failed to hand over the files to his successors despite repeated reminders for which a censure notice was issued. Was found absent during a police barrier in Maloya during Independence Day celebrations in 2004. In 2005, he failed to fill up an Integrated Investigation Form despite a circular.

“Our officers are capable”

“All the current SHOs are doing a fine job. I am not aware of the officers’ past record. Moreover, their appointment is the decision of the Police Establishment Board constituted for dealing with postings/ transfers. If some rules have been violated we will look into the matter.

— Naunihal Singh, UT Senior Superintendent of Police

The four clean ones

Inspector Anokh Singh, SHO of the Sector 11 police station

Inspector Jaswinder Singh, SHO of the Sector 17 police station

Inspector Sri Parkash, SHO of the Sector 26 police station

Inspector Charanjeet Singh, SHO of the Sector 39 police station

SC on censure notice

Any officer who has been issued a censure notice is not allowed on promotion for a period of six months from the date he has been issued the notice and it’s a warning issued in writing for a grave offence. The Supreme Court, had in 2007, ruled that a 'mere censure' is enough to delay promotions. Awarding of censure by the disciplinary authority on the basis of the inquiry is a "blameworthy factor."

— Supreme Court, 2007



India-Pak semifinal
Ticket price touches Rs 10,000
Black marketeers couldn’t be happier
Deepankar Sharda

Chandigarh, March 25
For black marketeers in the city, the Turkish proverb ‘Patience is bitter, but it bears sweet fruit’ seems to be the mantra to earn a hefty profit by selling tickets of the upcoming semifinal match at Mohali on March 30.

After India defeated the Kangaroos in the quarterfinal match, the black marketeers are all set to sell tickets at a good hefty price.

A black marketeer told The Tribune that the price of the ticket would be much higher than the original price. He said the average price of a ticket after this win would be Rs 2,000 for the Rs 250 ticket, Rs 5,500 for the Rs 500 one and above Rs 10,000 for the Rs 1,000 ticket. However, before the match the price was Rs 1,200 for the Rs 250 ticket, Rs 2,800 for the Rs 500 one and Rs 5,500 for the Rs 1,000 ticket.

Some were seen making profit as the match of the ICC-Cricket World between India and Australia proceeded today at Montera (Ahmedabad). They were selling tickets as per the condition of the match.

Some black marketeers had hold tickets with them so that they could sell these after the match when it would be clear who will play against Pakistan in Mohali. Many sold the tickets at an unbelievable price today and the situation is expected to be the same till March 30.

Asked if the masses will spend such amount, he replied: “I have already sold a lot of tickets and now the demand will rise and there will be shortage. Prices will go up,” a 
ticket holder said.

On the other hand, some persons holding the tickets have decided to further hold them till the day of the match or closer, when they stand to gain even more.

Some students, who had bought the tickets for enjoying the match themselves, ended up selling the tickets to make profit. “I bought tickets for six of my friends, including three girls, after getting an offer from my cousin. I told the girls not to go for the match as the crowd may get rowdy and sold their tickets to a cousin to make money for a couple of drinks,” stated Pawan, a student of Panjab University.

Another black marketeer said: “I have kept two tickets for myself to catch live action at the venue.”

Catching them young

Young black marketeers were seen frequently updating themselves about the situation of the match between the Aussies and the ‘Men in Blue’ as it was the best time for them to make easy money. “This is better than betting as here the profit is confirmed whereas risk is involved in betting,” a 22-year-old youth of Sector 26 stated.

Pak team arrives today

The Pakistan team, the first team to reach the semifinal stage of the championship, will reach the city tomorrow evening amidst tight security. According to security officials, 180 police personnel will be deployed round the clock at Hotel Taj, where the team will put up. 


Who said it’s banned?
Microcopies otherwise prohibited in PU is available at a stone’s throw in Sectors 11, 15
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Panjab University’s “innovative” anti-cheating measure of barring shops with Photostat machines doing a microcopy of study material has been rendered useless, with the same being readily available at a stone’s throw distance in Sector 15.

Rather than putting its own house in order and strengthening its ailing invigilation system, the PU authorities have banned all shops from doing micro Photostats to curb the menace of ‘chits’. However, the act defies logic, as these microcopies are readily available just outside the university gates in Sector 15.

“The move sounds funny. Microcopies are not the only way of making chits. I have been doing invigilation in examination for the past 20 years and over 90 per cent of chits caught from students are pages of books or handwritten notes from registers. Those who have to make chits will either manage to get Photostating done somewhere else or use some other method. We need to bar the entry of chits from examination halls. For that, we must ensure that candidates be checked properly,” said a senior faculty member of the Panjab University.

University records state that ‘chits’ continue to top the list of unfair means being reportedly used by candidates. Though microcopies are one of the options, it is the leaflets torn from books which make for the most popular ‘chits’.

The move has also irked campus shopkeepers who have questioned the university’s legal authority to ban them from doing so.

“They can only stop us from doing so if we are indulging in any illegal or immoral trade. If they want to check cheating then they must strengthen their own invigilation. Why bother us? Students who are not getting it done here are going to Sector 15 or Sector 11 located across the street. So what is the logic? We are refusing all requests of microcopies today because we don’t want to get into trouble with the authorities,” said a shopkeeper at Panjab University market.



Crusade against corruption
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
An interactive session with Dr Kiran Bedi, ex-IPS officer, wasorganised at law auditorium, Panjab University. Dr Bedi threw light on the recently-launched “India against Corruption” movement which is trying to persuade the government to enact the Janlokpal Bill, drafted to set up an effective anti-corruption body called Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta. During the session, she pointed out lacunae in the suggested Lokpal Bill and vowed to get it replaced withthe Janlokpal bill. She also highlighted the need for a similarmovement in Punjab, and talked about rampant corruption and budgetdeficit in the state. Towards the end of the session, she answered the questions raised by students and urged them to support the crusade against corruption. 



Parents’ problems taken up with DPI (S)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
A delegation of the local unit of BJP submitted a memorandum to the DPI (Schools) regarding various problems faced by parents of students.

The delegation brought to the notice of the DPI that private schools were pocketing money by dictating students to purchase textbooks and stationary from a particular shop. “Managements of private schools are hand in glove with private shop owners. Parents and students face financial difficulties in purchasing books,” it alleged.

Not only this, parents are compelled to purchase “stationery kits” along with books. This is not only illegal, but also unethical.

The delegation demanded that the school authorities be directed to display a list of books, along with full particulars of every class, on the notice board, with a written note/submission that students could purchase books and stationary from any shop of their choice, it added. 



Protesting rural pharmacists do a Veeru
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 24
High drama prevailed at the Punjab directorate of rural development & ‘panchayats’ complex in Sector 62 (Phase 8) here on Thursday when some members of the three agitating unions of rural health pharmacists, rural veterinary pharmacists and class IV employees climbed to the top of the building and threatened to end their lives.

Rural health pharmacists climb atop a building; and (right) a police team holds a net to prevent an untoward incident at Phase VIII in Mohali on Thursday. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

The spectacle continued late into the evening after talks between union representatives and the Punjab chief minister, held at the latter’s residence in Chandigarh, remained inconclusive. A heavy contingent of cops led by additional deputy police commissioner MS Kainth and subdivisional magistrate Amit Talwar were at the scene to handle any untoward incident till late in the night.

Demanding regularization of their jobs, at least ten union members armed with kerosene bottles managed to sneak on to the terrace of the seven-story building earlier in the day. Several rounds of talks to persuade the protesters to end their agitation failed to cut any ice.

Kamaljeet Singh, president of the Veterinary Pharmacists Association, said they would continue the stir until their demands were met. Sensing the mood of the agitators, the district administration adopted a lenient view in enforcing section 144 of the CrPc under which a ban on assembly of five or more people within a 100 metre radius of the Amb Sahib gurdwara, Punjab School Education Board, Vikas Bhawan, PUDA complex, Fortis Hospital and police housing complex has been imposed.

The protesters demanded their services be regularized without any conditions, failing which they said all health and veterinary centres in rural areas would be closed and they would oppose government programmes as well. They were recruited as per the government’s directions by doctors who were employed through ‘zila parishads’ in June 2006. Though the services of rural medical and veterinary officers working in various dispensaries at villages were regularized, no decision was taken to regularize pharmacists and class IV employees. 



NCC officers sensitised about human rights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS) in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) started a three-day workshop today to sensitise the NCC training staff about human rights.

The workshop was inaugurated at St Kabir School in Sector 26, with PC Sharma, member of the National Human Rights Commission, gracing the occasion as chief guest. He was accompanied by JS Kochher, joint secretary, training, NHRC.

Lauding the initiative, Sharma elaborated upon the history of human rights and urged the NCC officers to promote the principals of human rights among the youth.

Justice SS Sodhi, former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, who was the guest of honour, highlighted the rampant ignorance among people about rights and laws framed for their benefit. He urged teachers, social workers and various organisations to spread awareness about human rights.

The inaugural ceremony was presided over by Col D Gupta, who heads the NCC unit in Chandigarh.



Rlys’ loss is taxi operators’ gain
Anil Jerath/TNS

Chandigarh, March 24
With no resolution of the ongoing Jat agitation in sight, train passengers are an increasing harried lot. The cancellation of trains from the city to Delhi and other places in Haryana are adversely affecting the public.

With several trains remaining cancelled taxi and tour operators' in the tricity are smiling all the way to the bank. With people having to reach their destinations at any cost and no trains available, they have hardly any choice but to hire a taxi or go by bus.

Although there are a number of buses running on the Delhi-Chandigarh route, people used to travelling by trains find it difficult to travel in them. There are only a few airconditioned buses including Volvos operating on this route and that too full to capacity due to cancellation of trains and rise in day temperatures.

In a situation where Northern Railway is cancelling trains, a trip by road from the city to Delhi would cost you a whopping ` 2,500 to ` 5,000 depending on the vehicle you hire.

According to a tour operator at the city train station, "There’s a big crisis as a lot of trains have been cancelled because of the Jat agitation. In that case people in the tricity who have to reach Delhi for some important work or to take a connecting international flight have to go there by road. In a situation where there’s no other choice, most taxi operators charge what they feel like."

Lack of regulation and the government's apathy to issuing any kind of directives to taxi operators, despite declaring tourism an industry, is helping taxi operators in fleecing the public. "Movement at this time is dependent on road. While the clients who have booked transport earlier do travel on the same rates, all fresh bookings at this time have risen 20 per cent to 25 per cent above the normal rate," said Romi, a taxi operator in Sector 27.

And, even while these taxis are standing idle on normal days there is an artificial shortage being created to charge higher fares. “The taxi operators abide by no rate list and the minute a train is cancelled the taxis move out of the railway station or other taxi stands, only to be called back as outsourced vehicles at higher prices. And in the time of crisis this is what happens all over the city," said a source.

Said Naresh Sharma, a businessman who regularly travels by train, said: “I’d never ever imagined that the city’s train station would remain shut for that long. Once you are used to train travel it’s difficult to travel by road,” he pointed out, adding at times one felt helpless in such situations.

Pranav Mishra, an engineer, had a bitter experience recently. His train got cancelled with the result he missed his connecting flight from Delhi. He had to ultimately cancel the trip.

Said Jaswinder, a college student: “The leaders of regional parties must understand blocking trains is an antinational act and hurts the country’s economy as well. To raise any demand protesters should march to Jantar Mantar or Parliament House in New Delhi as that would be the right place to sit and protest. Rail tracks are the lifeline of this country and we shouldn’t block them every now and then for pressing various demands, as that pushes the nation backwards in terms of economic progress”.

Meanwhile, frequent travellers this reporter talked to said they were now opting for either AC buses or taxis as the time taken by road travel could be worked out in advance.



Army fined for withholding officer’s pay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
In a landmark judgement to ensure that Army officers are not unnecessarily harassed by administrative authorities, the Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) today held that holding back of pay and allowances of an officer facing a court of inquiry was illegal since there was no Discipline and Vigilance (DV) ban imposed on the officer at the time of his promotion.

The DV ban is imposed on officers facing action for serious violation of provision of the Army Act and renders them ineligible for promotion, postings or awards till the time the ban is in effect.

Directing that the officer be given due pay and allowances of a lieutenant colonel with effect from December 2004 till date with 10 per cent interest, the Bench has also imposed costs of Rs 50,000 to be awarded to the officer for harassment and agony. The Bench has also ordered that action be taken against the officers in the Army Headquarters responsible for the entire episode.

When the officer was posted out from Faizabad, UP, in 2003, a Court of Inquiry was ordered against him because six identity cards of retired personnel were found from the quarters occupied by him, for which “destruction certificates” had been tendered by him.

After the conclusion of the Court of Inquiry, nothing was informed to the petitioner about any action contemplated or otherwise and queries on the same did not elicit any response. Nor was a DV ban imposed on him. In December 2004, the officer was promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant colonel, but was not given the pay and allowances of that rank. Inquiries to find out if any DV Ban was imposed on him, did not elicit any response from the authorities.

He, thereafter, sought the relevant information under the RTI Act. No reply was provided to him and instead a show-cause notice was issued to him in March 2010 for the alleged omissions on his part in 2003. He was finally awarded a non-recordable censure by the General Officer Commanding, Madhya Bharat area.

In his petition, the officer had contended that holding back his pay and allowances since December 2004 smacked of was illegal, arbitrary and discriminatory because no DV ban had ostensibly been imposed on him and even the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Officers) or his superior formations had not been informed of any such ban. In fact, his superior officers had certified that he was not under any DV ban.



Khushpreet’s Murder
Two-wheelers used in crime recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Moving ahead with the investigations in the Khsuhpreet murder case, the police today recovered the motorcycle and the scooty used in the crime by the accused, Sukhdev Singh. Nand Kishore, the third accused, is still at large and raids are being conducted at various places to nab him, the police said.

The police recovered the bike, which was used to dump Khushpreet’s body in a pit in Phase X, Mohali. Sukhdev had borrowed the bike form his friend Jassi, who resides in the same locality in Burail. The scooty used in the crime belonged to Sukhdev.

The police said efforts were on to recover the ransom money of Rs 4 lakh, which was give by Khushpreet’s uncle to the accused on December 22. While Sukhdev told the police that he spent all the money to pay off his debt, the police is questioning the people whom he paid the money. He had disposed of Rs 1.8 lakh the next day and Rs 80,000 was paid to a contractor.

The police said the role of the chemist shop, from where the accused purchased Alprex tablets without prescription, is also under the scanner. 



MC lacks norms on laying of paver blocks
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Paver blocks laid around a tree on a road near the UT Secretariat, Sector 9, Chanigarh.
Paver blocks laid around a tree on a road near the UT Secretariat, Sector 9, Chanigarh. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, March 24
Municipal corporation councillors appear to have adopted double standards on laying paver blocks in the city. The civic body’s environment and city beautification committee, which met here on Thursday, asked the horticulture department to conduct a detailed survey of the trees whose roots had been damaged due to laying paver blocks around it.

However, at the last MC general house meeting most councillors refused to discuss the issue saying no policy on the work should be approved as this was an election year. The meeting was chaired by former mayor and councillor Pardeep Chhabra.

Interestingly, at the committee meeting councillors took to task officials of the road wing for not inspecting the site before laying paver blocks. They asserted the department should not allow the blocks to be laid near trees as it would affect their proper growth and life span. “A set policy should be framed to avoid ill affects on trees and water harvesting in future”, the councilors averred.

At the last house meeting civic officials tabled a report noting laying of paver blocks on all open spaces in the city would adversely affect the surface areas. The report stated the UT administration was promoting rainwater harvesting to increase the subsoil water level but laying paver blocks on all surface areas would result in further lowering the underground water level in the city.

Haphazard installation of paver blocks would also result in reduction in the city’s green cover in the near future. The report also pointed out that laying the blocks there would put an additional burden on the stormwater drainage system. The report also said indiscriminate installation of paver blocks had defeated the basic purpose of the exercise.

MC records show the committee approved Rs 5 crore for laying paver blocks in the city last month.

Meanwhile, the committee has also directed the horticulture department to prepare a report on trees that pose a hazard in the city and table it at the next house meeting.



Selection process comes under criticism
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
Even as the process for the selection of the president of District Consumer Forum (I) reached it’s final stage with interviews of candidates being conducted today, the Consumer Courts Bar Association has raised objections on the selection process, claiming that it ignores a large section of eligible candidates.

Of the 30 applications that were received for the post, only 11 candidates turned up. Sources said the name of the selected candidate was likely to be finalised within a day or two.

Objections are now being raised by some lawyers who claim that the selection process was flawed as it deprived a large number of eligible lawyers for appearing in it. They say as per the existing process, applications for the post are not invited by way of any public advertisement but the UT administration calls for the names of eligible retired or serving (going to retire soon) district judges or additional district judges of Panjab, Haryana and UT. The names are sent by the High Court and they are invited for the interview.

“In this way, no opportunity is given to practicing advocates of the region who are eligible to become district judges or additional district judges. The procedure of selection of the president of the district forum, thus results ignoring of a substantial and possibly meritorious segment of the legal fraternity,” said Pankaj Chandgothia, president of the Consumer Courts Bar Association, Chandigarh, who too claims to be an eligible candidate.



Exide penalised Rs 2,500
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum has directed Guru Nanak Auto Trader and Exide Industries to pay Rs 2,500 to a Panchkula resident for not repairing or replacing the defective batteries under the warranty period.

Harish Gulati had purchased two Excide batteries for Rs 12,600 with a warranty of 18 months from the date of purchase, which was September 19, 2008.

However, the batteries became non-functional due to a short circuit in the first week of March 2010. Gulati reported the matter to Guru Nanak Auto Trader and they sent the batteries to the manufacturer for repair or replacement but they did not accept the warranty and delivered the batteries to the complainant without repair on March 10, 2010.

As none appeared on the behalf of Guru Nanak Traders, the case was proceeded against ex parte. In a written reply, Exide Industries denied all the material allegations and stated that after checking the batteries, it was observed that both the batteries were dry run therefore they were returned to the complainant. When the case was fixed for arguments, no one appeared on behalf of Exide, so they were proceeded against ex parte. 



Parsavnath Developers told to refund Rs 10.47 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (I) has directed Parsavnath Developers to pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 and refund Rs 10.47 lakh to a Panchkula resident who had applied for a flat in the residential complex floated by the company.

Bhupinder Mehta had booked a three-bedroom flat in the project of Parsavnath with a cost of Rs 69.84 lakh in 2006. He had deposited Rs 10.47 lakh with the developer and as per the agreement, the construction of the flat was to be completed within a period of 36 months. But there was no sign of any construction till 2010.

Mehta had approached the company for a refund but they were delaying the matter on one pretext or the other. Legal notices too had been served on the developer but to no avail. In its reply, the developer said if a refund was sought, Mehta would have to apply for the cancellation of the booking and the amount paid by him would be refunded after deducting 15 % of the basic price, which was Rs 2.57 lakh as per the agreement.

The forum comprising member Madanjit Kaur Sahota and presiding member Rajinder Singh Gill stated in its order: “It is unfortunate that the developer has entrapped innocent consumers in their net in order to make quick money by fleecing them through flashy advertisements which are the steps in the direction of unfair trade practice, whereby no possession is handed over after retaining the money from consumers.”



Keeping pace with latest technology
Visually challenged using computers with help of softwares like JAWS
Karan Raj

Chandigarh, March 24
Lack of eyesight hasn’t deterred the spirit of visually challenged at the Institute for Blind, Sector 26, and while keeping pace with the latest technologies, they are interacting with computers just like other users with the help of various softwares available to them.

“You just need to install JAWS (Job Access With Speech) software to use the system,” says Hem Chand Pandey, who lost his eyesight in 2005 and teaches computers at the institute. Pandey, who is an avid user of Facebook and Orkut, uses computer daily to listen to songs, to read newspapers and to check e-mails.

JAWS is a software, which speaks all information written on the screen in a human voice in a way that users don’t even need the screen. A user interacts with the computer by listening to whatever is displayed on the screen.

Interestingly, JAWS is originally designed by American motorcycle racer Ted Henter, who lost his eyesight in an accident.

Nirmla, who also teaches computers at the institute, says, “The kids are enthusiastic about computers and once they enter the lab, they do not want to leave it after the class is over.”

Children are taught basic computer skills such as MS Office, handling e-mail account, typing, web browsing, etc, at the institution.

Soni, a student of Class XI of the institute, says, “I use computer to search information on Google and to stay in contact with friends through e-mail. I also feel that the computers are a good source of entertainment and whenever I am free I listen to songs online.”

Amrinder, another student of the institute, has got a good typing speed and other than using computers for academic purposes, he likes to download songs, movies and read news online.



Illegal structures razed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The enforcement staff of the Estate Office today demolished illegal structures during an anti-encroachment drive in Raipur Khurd village.A team led by land acquisition officer (LAO) Tilak Raj conducted the drive in which illegal encroachments on at least 12 plots and additions and alterations in three houses were razed.

Official sources said the encroachers were served notices about two months back to remove the encroachments. The drive was conducted today after the failure of the encroachers to remove illegal structures themselves, sources added. 



TB cases up in P’kula dist
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
The Panchkula district has witnessed an increase in tuberculosis (TB) cases during the last two months. A majority of cases have been reported from the slums.As per the figures provided by the health authorities at the Sector 6 General Hospital, 112 cases were found positive out of 1,145 patients who underwent tests for tuberculosis during the past two months. As many as 143 cases of TB out of a total of 1,435 were found positive during the last previous quarter.

Dr VK Bansal, Civil Surgeon, said here today that the main reason for this was lack of awareness among illiterate persons living in unhygienic conditions at the five slums of the city, including Rajiv Colony, Azad Colony, Madrasi Colony and Abhaypur. However, at 3 per cent, the district had the lowest TB cases compared to 5 per cent in the entire state, he said.

This was due to the various steps initiated by them under the direct observatory treatment (DOT) programme of the Central government. He said the main emphasis was to follow the patient at every step during the six-month treatment. Generally, patients stopped the treatment midway. He said they were engaging the services of NGOs in the slums who gave medicines to patients daily. The department also verified the address of patients so that they could be given medicines regularly.

The Civil Surgeon said in order to create awareness among people about the disease, a programme was held at Hangola village today to mark World TB Day. 



BJP seeks vigilance probe against MC officials
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
The BJP has demanded a vigilance inquiry against the officials responsible for the negligible recovery against the proposed income causing huge losses to the Municipal Council.

Addressing the media here this evening, Gianchand Gupta, state party treasurer, said the MC had recovered only Rs 15 lakh while the proposed income was pegged at Rs 2 crore during 2010-11.

Terming the recent MC budgetary proposals tabled recently as misleading and unrealistic, Gupta said against the proposed Rs 29 crore to be spent during 2009-10 on various development schemes, only Rs 10 crore were spent till November 2009. Likewise, in 2010-11, the situation was worst as the MC could spend only Rs 3.7 crore against the proposed expenditure of Rs 32 crore.

Commenting on the poor performance of the MC during the past two fiscals, CB Goel and BB Singal, local bodies cell convener and MC vice-president, respectively, said this time the MC had proposed to spend Rs 37 crore in 2011-12. The income during 2009-10 was Rs 3 crore till November 2009 against the proposed income of Rs 40 crore. Similarly, in 2010-11, the income of the MC was Rs 10 crore till February 2011, against the proposed income of Rs 37 crore, they added.

They also demanded an inquiry into the money spent by the MC on sanitation works as the officials had spent Rs 4.71 crore against the proposed Rs 3.50 crore. They said the MC officials had not sought any approval from the House in this regard.



Number of temporary liquor vends to reduce
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 24
The UT excise and taxation department is likely to reduce the number of temporary liquor vends and taverns located on roadside in the internal sectors of the city. The number of vends, which were going to shutdown, was, however, not officially declared.

Highly placed sources in the UT administration stated that UT Administrator Shivraj Patil had approved the proposal to reduce the liquor vends on the roadside in the internal areas of the city.

Sources in the UT administration further revealed that the Municipal Corporation had sent a proposal to the excise and taxation department in December last year, requesting them to shutdown the liquor vends located on the internal roads.

Considering the proposal of the corporation, the administration had proposed in the excise policy for the next financial year plans to reduce the number of liquor vends in the city. Records of the corporation showed that out of total 217 liquor vends in the city, the corporation had 38 temporary liquor vends on various roads.

As per MC records, there were six liquor vends in Mani Majra, five between Sectors 45 and 54, four in the industrial area, Phase I, three in Palsora, two in Mauli Jagran and Sector 26 each and one in Khajeri and Bapu Dham each.

In October last year, MC General House had unanimously decided to suspend allotment of all wine shops on its land from the next financial year. Mayor Anu Chatrath had asked the MC officials to inform the UT administration that from next financial year, the MC would not permit liquor vends on its land in the city.

A majority of councillors objected to the opening of a large number of temporary liquor vends in different areas, which in turn had sent the erroneous message that the authorities were promoting alcoholism in the city.



Litigants harassed as lawyers strike work
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 24
Litigants coming from far off places in the district had to face inconvenience as members of the Panchkula Bar Association (PBA) today abstained from court work in protest against the Legal Practitioner Bill 2010 to be introduced by the Union government.

The PBA had struck work following a nationwide call given by the Bar Council of India (BCI) to observe a protest day on Thursday against the Bill. The Bill has been introduced by the Union government to deal with issues of client protection and regulation of the legal profession.

Suresh Kumar, a resident of Raipur Rani, who had come to appear in a case regarding a property dispute with his neighbours, said the case had been pending in the court for the past few years. He said his whole day was wasted today as it took him one-and-a-half-hour to reach the court by bus. “I will have to come again as the court has fixed the next date of hearing for Monday,” he rued.

Meanwhile, Jagpal Singh, president of the PBA, said they had arranged representatives’ proxies in each court so that the litigants didn’t face any problem in getting dates.

He said as the Bar Council of India was already functioning as a regulatory body for the lawyers, they would not allow the parallel regulatory body controlled by the Union government.



Burning of garbage a health hazard
Tribune News Service

Garbage being burnt in the Industrial Area, Phase VIII, Mohali.
Garbage being burnt in the Industrial Area, Phase VIII, Mohali. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, March 24
Industrialists in the industrial area, Phase VIII, here are irritated over the indifferent attitude of the Mohali Municipal Corporation in disposal of garbage near their units. They lament that garbage was being burnt at the dumping ground in the industrial area.

A number of industrialists complained that garbage was being burnt in the area for the past three days, which posed threat to lives. Baldev Singh, an industrialist, said: “Despite repeated requests, the MC continues with the practice of burning garbage, which pollutes the area.”

He added that, “We have taken up the issue with authorities concerned several times, but no action had been taken.”

The Mohali Industry and Commerce Association president also took up the issue with the Information Technology (IT) Minister Adesh Partap Singh Karoan recently



Ultrasound machines sealed
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 24
A team of doctors from the Dera Bassi Civil Hospital today conducted a surprise check at various private clinics and inspected ultrasound machines in Zirakpur and Banur.

According to Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, Dr Meena Hardeep Singh, said the team found irregularities in the machine at Sodhi Ultrasound, Zirakpur, and the machine had been sealed for two weeks under the PC and PNDT Act.

The team also sealed an ultrasound machine at City Ultrasound in Banur for a month.



Glaucoma Week

Panchkula: More than 50 persons attended a free glaucoma public education seminar at Sector 20. The event was organised by Grewal Eye Institute to mark the Glaucoma Week. Dr Urvish Vashisht laid emphasis on a regular eye check-up. Dr Manpreet Sekhon said, “At early stages, a patient does not show any symptoms of glaucoma. Those having high intra-ocular pressure, high myopia, a family history of glaucoma and diabetes are at a higher risk.”

Dr Manpreet added that several tests like OCT DISC & RNFL helped detect glaucoma. — TNS



A library without books!
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 24
Computers, cupboards and chairs have been purchased for the municipal library. But where are the quality books which will make the place useful for residents.Around 19 cupboards, 16 chairs, four computers, four computer tables and four revolving chairs costing Rs 5 lakh have been purchased for the library set up at Silvi Park in Phase X. But no books have been purchased over the past several years.

The municipal library hardly exists for all practical purposes. It does not have even a single member. Visitors frequent the library only to read newspapers and some magazines. Readers complained that there were a very few books in the library and those, too, were not written by reputed authors. Most of the books purchased by the civic body for the library were of a publishing house based in Mansa.

During a visit to the library, it was learnt that the area was not being maintained in a proper manner. Old open racks, which were replaced with cupboards, were full of dust and still lying in the main hall. The floor had also become dirty and there was no provision of drinking water.

Of the total 1,000 books, around 150 have been donated by book lovers. There are no books which can help students prepare for competitive examination. Twenty six magazines and 17 newspapers have been provided by the civic body.

It is learnt that on an average around 15 persons visit the library everyday, but only to read newspapers and magazines. Most of them are senior citizens.

An official of the corporation said the MC’s general house had passed a proposal for purchasing furniture and other items long back.

A three-member committee was set up for selecting books for the municipal library.



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