C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


I-T raids on Vanaspati manufacturers
Rs 4.8 crore seized, 7 lockers sealed
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
In a major operation to uncover undeclared wealth, Income Tax (I-T) officials today raided nearly dozen premises of manufacturer of Gagan Vanaspati and Amrit Banaspati, spread over North India, and seized Rs 4.8 crore in cash, besides sealing seven lockers belonging to the company and its owners.

The raids, carried out by almost 200 personnel of the I-T department, were conducted simultaneously at the main plant of Gagan Vanaspati, located at Rajpura, Punjab and its offices and residential premises of owners in Gaziabad and Noida in UP and Hoshiarpur and Chandigarh.

According to officials, the search and seizure operations were still on till the filing of this report at 9 pm and the officials claimed to have sealed several incriminating documents, besides the huge amount of Rs 4.8 crore.

Sources said the seized cash was recovered from different locations that were raided. While officials were not ready to reveal more, Deputy Director (Investigation), Rajinder Kaur, confirmed the search operations.

However sources said seven bank lockers, belonging to the company and its owners, were sealed and if the documents recovered during the raids were any indication, more unaccounted cash could be unearthed.

Officials said the sister concern of the company ADC Paper Ltd was also under investigation.



Rs 1.5 lakh looted from house
Our Correspondent

Kalka, May 4
A house was looted here early this morning.In a statement given to the police, Sweety Mahant, owner of the house, alleged that seven-eight miscreants aged around 25, with covered faces, entered the house, situated in Bharat Nagar near Guga Mari, and looted Rs 1.50 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 16.50 lakh at gun-point.

The miscreants committed the crime at around 3.30 am.

Residents of the area said teams of fingerprint experts and dog squad reached the spot at around 10 am, seven hours after the incident.



Two killed in road mishaps
Dell employee killed in Mohali; salesman dies in city
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 4
A young man was killed when the Honda City car he was driving hit a bus near the Spice chowk near the town’s industrial area early on Wednesday morning. Karan Kapoor, 26, a Phase VI resident and an employee at Dell, was reportedly on his way to his office when the fatal mishap occurred. The car was badly damaged in the collision.

According to the police, the car was going towards the industrial area in Phase VII while the bus was headed for Balongi. By the time the cops arrived at the accident scene the bus driver had sped away.

However, the police is not certain whether the bus involved in the mishap was owned by a private operator. Some parts of the bus were found at the accident scene.

The police informed the deceased’s parents about the fatal accident at around 5:30 a.m. It is learnt Kapoor was the only child of a businessman. In another incident a car and a truck got damaged after colliding with each other near Sector 66. However, the drivers of both vehicles had a narrow escape.

Chandigarh: In another accident, a 45-year-old man was killed after he was hit by a rashly driven Maruti Zen car in Sector 36 here this evening.

The police has arrested the accused, Balbir Singh, who is a superintendent in the Punjab Education Department Office. The mishap took place at 5 pm near the Sector 36 roundabout.

The victim, Umesh Chander Batra, a salesman, was on his way home towards Sector 38 on scooter when the Maruti Zen (number CH03 Z 0391) hit him. The victim suffered grievous head injuries and was rushed to the PGI, where he was declared brought dead.

The police arrested Balbir Singh, a resident of Sector 41, in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC. The deceased is survived by his wife and a son.

The victim’s relatives said the accused tried to run away from the spot but was nabbed by passersby and handed over to the police.



Missing XEN
Kidnapping suspected by family
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 4
Even though Vipin Kumar Gupta, Executive Engineer (Capital Projects), Chandigarh Administration, remained untraceable for the third day today, his family was not ready to accept the suicide theory.

Gupta’s wife Rashmi, talking to The Tribune at her residence in Sector 4, Mansa Devi Complex, said she was suspecting some foul play in the missing of her husband. She said he had no dispute in his office or with his colleagues, as he had recently got promotion.

She said her husband went for morning walk as usual on May 1 at 6.30. He used to take the shorter route through Kishangarh village to reach Sukhna Lake. The Ropar police had found Gupta’s Maruti-800 car, keys and slippers abandoned on the Sutlej bridge in Ropar on May 1.

The police informed the family about the matter. Divers were pressed into service but to no avail. The police, on the statement of Rashmi, had lodged a missing report. Rashmi, who works as Associate Professor at DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, said she suspected that someone had kidnapped Vipin, as there was no reason for her husband for taking an extreme step like suicide. She alleged that the police was trying to project the case as that of suicide.

She said she had also confirmed from the official driver whether her husband had met anyone on April 30. The driver told her that his boss had only visited the project sites, which were under his supervision, she added. 



SMS sent to dad under scanner
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 4
The police is investigating an SMS sent to Rajesh Kundra, a resident of Amritsar, through the mobile phone of his daughter Simran Kundra, whose body was found in Jalandhar yesterday.

Rajesh Kundra had received the message “Papa muje bacha lo, meri jaan khatre me hai” (Papa save me, my life is in danger) on May 1. The SMS has created doubts in the mind of the police about the genuineness of the message. The police is of the view that if the message had been sent by the victim, she could also have mentioned the place where she was kept by the kidnappers.

Secondly, after the kidnapping, why her killers had not taken the mobile in their possession before executing their plan. And were the kidnappers so careless that they would not have noticed Simran sending message through her cell phone. The police is now of the view that the SMS must have been sent by the killers to misguide the police and that’s why the mobile phone had been left at the site of the incident.

The police had registered a case of kidnapping and murder Simran’s ex-husband Karan and her friend Tanmay yesterday. She was residing in a rented accommodation in Sector 15, Panchkula, and was pursuing a fashion-designing course at the National Institute of Fashion Designing in Sector 8, Chandigarh. The police had found her car (PB-02BL-0596) abandoned in Sector 16 on May 1 and informed her father, Rajesh Kundra, after getting his address from the documents in the car. 



Motorbikes remain top pick for auto lifters
Most of those stolen in city yet to be recovered by cops
Aneesha Sareen/TNS

Chandigarh, May 4
Motorcycles and scooters continue to be the favourite target of vehicle thieves in the city and are being stolen in huge numbers every year with the recovery rate hitting an all-time low. Even as 1,773 motorbikes were stolen during the last five years the police is clueless about the whereabouts of 1,328 of them.

Data on motorcycle thefts available with the Chandigarh police show that since 2006 till March this year the cops were able to recover only 445 of the 1,773 bikes stolen. A total of 540 two-wheelers - 159 scooters and 381 mobikes - were stolen in the city last year and the police could recover only 149 of them.

Senior police officials said unlike cars disposing a stolen motorcycle is much easier, which appears to be the prime reason for the poor rate of recovery. The thieves sell off most of them in the far-flung rural areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where verification of vehicle documents is often not conducted.

The arrest by the crime branch of three alleged auto lifters this week revealed the suspects used to target old vehicles and had a bunch of master keys with which they used to unlock the vehicles. Moreover, the prime suspect, Ajay Modi, was released from jail only last month after being charged for a similar theft.

While 209 motorbikes were lifted in 2006, the number of stolen bikes jumped to 314 in 2007, 341 in 2008 and 487 in 2009. From January 2010 till March this year a total of 422 motorcycles have been stolen.



Old age homes a neglected lot
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Elderly staying at the three old age homes in the city are facing problems of poor upkeep at these places.One of the biggest problems in the Homes is of rodent population feasting on food. The situation gets worse when there is no power supply.

These findings are part of a study being conducted by a team of the PGI. The findings of the report are yet to be made public.

Interestingly, the elderly at the Home for the Old and Destitute, Sector 15, are being kept with beggars and delinquent children, which is against the norms for such homes. At the old age home run by Sai Seva Samiti Ashram, Sector 30, the affairs are so pathetic that no one has been deputed to take care of the 11 inmates. A manager working voluntarily for the ashram visits the centre sometimes.

The three homes for the care of elderly, in Sectors 15, 43 and 30 are plagued with unhygienic conditions. The manpower is untrained and there are non-existent channels of communication with the outside world, an unheard of thing in today’s world.

A team from the PGI for the study of “Quality Care Audit of Old Age Homes of Chandigarh and Comparative Efficacy of Intervention for inmates,”
has found that the kitchens and rooms of three old age homes are lacking proper cleaning, lack facility of proper storage of foodstuff, poor lighting. Besides these are run by the people having no training in handling the old inmates.

The team contacted at least 55 of the 90 inmates in the three centres. There is no dearth of food in all centres, Home for the Old and Destitute, Sector 15, Sai Seva Samiti Ashram, Sector 30, and Senior Citizen Home, Sector 43, as the Chandigarh residents donate eatables with open heart.

This, however, has created a problem of storage for such items, said one of the official involved in the study. Sacks full of flour can be seen in any of the homes with rodents finding their ways into them.

Similarly green vegetables are being donated in plenty, a big portion of which perishes within a few days due to short shelf life of such items. Facilities like inverters are in short supply in all the homes. The investigators during their visits observed that there were machines of ECG and X-Ray installed in a centre, which are seldom used. The money spent on such costly equipment could have been used for upgrading the living conditions of the inmates, suggested the study.

The situation at Senior Citizens Home, Sector 43-A, was found to be little better.

The reason behind that, however, is not difficult to find. The main objective behind setting up this home was to give a secure and homely atmosphere to the well-off citizens who have the paying capacity but live alone in Chandigarh.

A positive point, however, was that many inmates were found in good health. That was perhaps due to the frequent visits by medicos to the Homes, said one of the investigators.



Beat the heat this summer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
As the mercury has started rising, medical experts have a word of caution for those with sensitive skin.A number of patients suffering from prickly heat, sunburn and eczema jumps to more than 25 per cent in hospitals every year during summer, says Dr GP Thami, head, dermatology department, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. A few cases of chicken pox are also being reported in the OPD of the hospital every day, he added.

“The skin acts as a shield. When excessive temperature threatens to overheat the body, the skin protects the delicate inner organs and maintains a steady body temperature. However, in the process, it bears the brunt of the heat and gets sunburned, tanned, wrinkled, blemished or damaged. Learning to protect your skin in summer is important,” said Dr Vikas Sharma, a Panchkula-based private practitioner.

“Complaints regarding disorders ranging from redness, burning sensation over face, itching, eczematous disorders, excessive dryness, chapping of lips, acne, premature ageing of skin, wrinkling, greying of hair and skin pigmentation have increased, he said.

While it is advised that one should drink a lot of water and consume fruits in this season, a care towards what you wear is a must, said Dr Swami Dass Mehta, dermatologist at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.

Besides skin problems, patients with complaints of respiratory problems also need to be cautious during summers as dusty conditions remain prevalent during most of the time in a majority of areas in the region, said Dr SK Jindal, head, pulmonary medicines, PGI. It is advised to avoid going towards fields as well as markets where dust or pollution is more. Moreover, those who are on medication for respiratory problem must take care that they do not miss on their dose, he added. 

Tips for better health

l Drink at least 10 glasses of water every day

l Consume fruits, fresh juice

l Wear a good sunscreen with constituents having a combination of both physical and chemical barrier protection

l Avoid going out if possible in the sun

l Avoid overuse of cosmetics having high concentration of fragrance

l Avoid wearing synthetic and dark-coloured clothes and use loose cotton clothes

l Soak your hands and feet in plain water for 10 minutes a day

l Wear a good moisturiser in the evening

l Avoid going to areas full of dust

l Avoid cut/over ripe fruits

l  Check the date of packing on packaged beverages

l Ensure that cap on bottle of beverages do not have rust as it can have dust as well as bacteria

l Ensure that straw for drinking aerated water or juice is not handled with dirty hands


PU to confer DLit on Khushwant Singh
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Going an extra mile to acknowledge the contribution of Khushwant Singh, an eminent journalist and litterateur, Panjab University has decided to hold a special convocation on May 6 at his residence in New Delhi and confer a Doctorate in Literature honoris causa on him.

Though Singh was supposed to be honoured at the university convocation held recently, he could not attend it due to his ill health. Following this, taking a cognisance of his condition, the university decided to hold the ceremony at his residence where PU Senators, Syndics, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti and Registrar AK Bhandari will get together to do the honours.



Madhav Kaushik is convener of Hindi Advisory Board

Chandigarh, May 4
Noted city poet and secretary of Chandigarh Sahitya Akademy, Madhav Kaushik had been unanimously elected as convener of the Hindi Advisory Board of National Sahitya Akademy. As many as 67 delegates and office-bearers of the general council from all states participated in the annual session of the national council held at Guwahati.

Credited with over 20 books of prose and poetry, Madhav Kaushik is a recipient of Mahakavi Surdas Samman (Rs 1.5 lakh) and Babu Balmukund Gupt award (Rs 50,000) of Haryana State Sahitya Akademy.

This is for the first time that any author from the region has been elected to the important post, claimed Madhav.

Dr Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, an eminent Hindi writer from Gorakhpur, also won the election for the post of vice-president of the national academy, added Madhav. — TNS



Traffic police issues 689 challans in week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The Chandigarh traffic police has started a special drive against drunken driving in the city by organising barriers on different locations near pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants.

The drive started on April 29.A total of 689 challans have been issued for various offences, including 65 for drunken driving.

Special nakas were set up at the Kalibari light point, Sector 45/46 light point, Police Lines, Sector 26, Timber Market, Sector 21/22 dividing road, Piccadilly Hotel, near South End roundabout, Sector 45/46 light point, Sector 18/19 dividing road, Sector 20/30 dividing road, Sector 17/22 dividing road, near Kaimbala turn, near Chandigarh Club, Sector 34/35 light point, Sector 45/46 light point, Sector 38 West light point, St Kabir School, Sector 26, Sector 19/27 light point, near PGI food street, near 21/22 dividing road, ISBT-17, Kali Bari light point.

This year since Janaury, 347 offenders have been booked for drunken driving till date.



‘Construction in Sukhna Choe zone prohibited’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
A 50-metre zone around the Sukhna Choe has been notified and no construction would be permitted in the area, the Punjab & Haryana High Court heard on Wednesday.

After a petition filed by a Mohali resident, Jaswant Singh, on the shrinking of the ‘choe’, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills, came up for hearing in the morning, the state of Punjab also told the high court that action against illegal construction in the zone could be initiated. Only last year the court had issued notice of motion to the Punjab commissioner, irrigation & drainage department, and other officials on the petition.

Singh had claimed due to excessive encroachment the natural flow in the Sukhna Choe passing through the area had been squeezed and it could cause water inundation in houses of Baltana residents. The petitioner had also prayed for directions to the authorities for steps to stop unauthorized construction in the area, which would result in narrowing of the ‘choe’.

The petitioner stated rainwater from the Air Force Station and also overflow of the Sukhna Lake was discharged in the ‘choe’. Water inundation at a house in Baltana had caused the death of a bank employee when an electric current passed through the water.

The petitioner further said due to the rise in land prices in Zirakpur, some real estate developers had encroached upon the land and raised unauthorized structures without realizing they could cause floods in the entire area.



P'kula MC vice-chief seeks more powers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Panchkula Municipal Council vice-president BB Singhal has sought more powers for himself.In the absence of the president, Singhal moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court today for the powers of the president for a meeting to be held on May 9.

Singhal has already urged the state government to ensure restoration of democratic working of the municipal council through elected councillors so that the maintenance, development works are taken care of as per the wishes of residents.

Eight councillors of the municipal council, too, have sent a letter to the Haryana government demanding restoration of working of the civic body and also involvement of councillors in developmental works in the city.

Taking up the petition, the Division Bench of Justice MM Kumar and Justice AN Jindal today issued notice of motion. The case will now come up for hearing on May 9. 



IT Park to have paid parking
Tribune News Service

Vehicles parked haphazardly in open space in IT Park.
Vehicles parked haphazardly in open space in IT Park. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, May 4
The Chandigarh administration is all set to introduce paid parking in open spaces at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Information Technology Park.Confirming the development, Yogesh Kumar, Director of Information Technology, said: “The paid parking is being introduced to ensure proper parking in the space earmarked by IT companies in their basements.”

“We are planning to impose a fee of Rs 25 per vehicle which is slightly higher than the fee in the mall parking. It has been found that even workers in IT companies prefer to park their vehicles in the open space. People visiting DT Mall park their vehicles in the parking space opposite the road,” he said.” Instead of using the parking space in the mall, a number of cars are parked along the roadside leading to traffic jam.

Parking his vehicle in the open space opposite the mall, an IT professional said: “I don’t like driving down the ramp and taking odd turns to park in the scheduled parking lot. It is much more convenient here.”

The director said: “The fee is being levied as a deterrent for public to park their vehicles in open spaces. We will use the revenue collected for the maintenance and development of the IT Park. The administration is also considering a proposal for a multi-level parking in the park.”

Vineet Verma, an IT promotion officer, said: “We have written to the police on several occasions highlighting the parking problem in the area. Many IT companies have approached us complaining about the difficulty in movement trucks carrying raw material to construction sites.” 



STA nets over Rs 21 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The UT Stte Transport Authority (STA) has earned Rs 21,75,17,893 in 2010-11 financial year which is Rs 3,59,59,987 more than the amount earned in the previous financial year.

The authority has been fully computerised and has been linked with the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) under VAHAN software. The national permits (NPs) are being issued online and registration fees, HPA entry/cancellation, road tax, duplicate registration certificate (RC) and fitness certificate in respect of all transport vehicles has been computerised.

The remaining work like permits will be computerised up to March 31, 2012. Under the supervision of Mahavir Kaushik, secretary, STA, a special drive was launched against the illegal operation of private buses/vehicles in Chandigarh. A total of 7, 900 vehicles, including school buses, tourist buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws, diving school vehicles and other transport vehicles were challaned for violation of various provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act such as without permit, without RC, without pollution under control certificate, without driving licence, without insurance and without fare meter between April 1, 2010 to March 31 2011.

The secretary has urged all vehicles owners and operators to carry all necessary documents such as RC, permit, insurance, DL, PUC etc in the vehicle while travelling so that they may not face inconvenience. 



Consumer Court
Insurance firm told to pay Rs 2.75 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (II) has directed United Insurance Company to pay Rs 2.25 lakh to city resident Kanwar Bhanu Pratap Singh for not giving the claim of a stolen insured vehicle besides paying Rs 50,000 as compensation and Rs 7,000 as the litigation cost.

The insurance company was not settling the claim on the ground that the complainant was not responding to the queries raised by the surveyor. However, after seeing the report of the investigator, the forum comprising its president Lakshman Sharma and members Ashok Raj Bhandari and Madhu Mutneja observed that the questions were irrelevant.

The forum stated that only a thief, who took away the car, could answer the surveyor’s questions as to how the lock of the vehicle was opened.

In his complaint, Kanwar stated that he had insured his Santro car with United Insurance Company from December 2009 to 2010. On May 9, 2010, his car was stolen when he parked it for a short while during his journey to Gurgaon. He immediately lodged an FIR in Gurgaon. But the police failed to find the car and presented the untraced report before the court. 



Transfer of 13 villages: Admn seeks MC consent
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The UT administration today communicated to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) for giving its consent to the inclusion of 13 more villages in the civic body. The MC has been asked to decide on the matter by the end of this month.

Sources said that two days ago, the UT State Election Commissioner, Rakesh Mehta, had visited all the 13 villages under the UT administration. After the visit, Mehta held a meeting with UT officials and directed them to clear the status of inclusion of these villages in the MC. As the MC elections are due in December 2011, the exercise of delimitation of wards will be undertaken by the commission after the status of these 13 villages is clarified by the MC.

MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach confirmed that the administration had asked for their opinion on the transfer of 13 villages to the MC. He said the issue would be tabled in the next General House meeting of the MC.

In 1996 Burail, Attawa, Badheri and Buterlla were transferred and in 2006, Hallo Majra, Kajheri, Palsora, Maloya and Dadu Majra were transferred to the MC.

Out of 22 villages, 13 are under the jurisdiction of the UT administration, which include Kaimbwala, Jassu, Raipur Khurd, Raipur Kalan, Daria, Kishangarh, Mauli Jagran, Dhanas, Makhanmajra, Behlana, Faidan, Khuda Ali Sher and Sarangpur. These villages have around 40,000 voters as per the 2006 Census.

Sources in administration revealed that the as per the Punjab Municipal Act, the administration has the prerogative to thrust any responsibility on the civic body. Though, the final decision is to be taken by the MC House. 



Samwartak denies having personal links with accused
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Chandigarh’s former Director Public Instructions (DPI) Samwartak Singh has denied having any personal links with an accused on the controversial teachers’ recruitment scam. He has even tried to justify the phone calls between him and accused Jolly by describing them as official.

The denial came as an answer to a questionnaire presented to Samwartak Singh by the Chandigarh police. It was placed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court some six months ago after a Division bench questioned UT’s silence on the telephonic conversations between Samwartak Singh and the accused.

The Bench had verbally asked UT standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal to elaborate on why the police was silent on the issue of phone calls. The query came after the Bench was informed that as many as 130 calls and two short messages were exchanged between Samwartak Singh and accused Jolly.

The Bench verbally observed that they had the option of handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation. Or else, monitor its progress on a regular basis. In his answers, Samwartak Singh claimed that he did not know Jolly personally; and he might have visited his office as a “public person”.

Replying to the query on his calls to Jolly, he said: “At times people used to make constant calls/ missed calls regarding queries/problems/information regarding tourism and education department. So as a public servant, I used to initiate calls to address the grievance of the public as far as possible.”

Samwartak Singh added: I hardly remember to have sent any SMS to jolly. But on communication with the mobile company, it was learnt that I have sent two SMSes to Jolly. I don’t remember what were the contents.”

The alleged scam had come to the fore in 2009. Demanding a CBI probe into the scam, a public interest litigation (PIL) was earlier filed by Karamjit Singh. His counsel Ranjivan Singh had earlier submitted that Samwartak Singh was let off by the Chandigarh police.

He had also claimed the scam to be of “huge magnitude”.

Kaushal, on the other hand, has all along been claiming the petition is a non-PIL (“lacks” public interest element). Karamjit Singh was an unsuccessful candidate and had earlier approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) with the same demand. But the petition was dismissed by the Tribunal, Kaushal had told the Court.

Explaining the phone calls between Samwartak Singh and the two accused presently facing trial, Kaushal had asserted the DPI had told the police that he had received calls from the accused for some tourism activities. 



Aerospace safety meet at 3 BRD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Aerospace safety related aspects and similar issues pertaining to maintenance and overhaul of aircraft were deliberated upon at the Annual Maintenance Command Aerospace Safety Council meeting held at No 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here today.

Senior officers from Air Headquarters, Maintenance Command and various units under the command made presentations on operational, logistics and maintenance matters. Over the years, the IAF has laid emphasis on resolution of safety related issues.

The meeting was held to highlight such issues in order to enhance the overall aviation safety record of the IAF.

The meeting was attended by Air Marshal PV Athawale, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command and Air Marshal AS Karnik, Director General (Inspection and Safety), Air Headquarters. 



Mohali MC a powerless body sans funds
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 4
The Mohali Municipal Corporation created in haste after cutting short the term of the earlier Congress-ruled council remains a near powerless body sans adequate funds and extended territorial jurisdiction.

The upgrading of the council into a corporation about four months back had raised high hopes among residents of more development in the town. But the change has only brought in disappointment as no major plan has so far been drawn up by those holding charge of the upgraded civic body.

The seriousness of the SAD-BJP government in connection with the upgradation of the council can be gauged from the fact that three commissioners were appointed in less than three months time and each of them had only been given the additional charge of the civic body. No action had so far been taken to increase the revenue of the fund-starved civic body and neither had any move been initiated to extend the limits of the corporation.

A lot of resentment prevails among former municipal councillors whose five-year term was cut short by about seven months and with no poll to the corporation in sight in the near future. They were promised that the jurisdiction of the corporation would be extended soon after the census work came to an end on March 31 because of which boundaries were frozen. Even though nothing had so far been done in the past one month to extend the limits of the civic body, even the four sectors (66 to 69) which are being maintained by GMADA have not been included in the municipal limits.

Amrik Singh, former senior vice-president of the council who belonged to the opposition group, said that everything had come to a standstill with the formation of the corporation. No development work was being carried out by the civic body. Sanitation was in a state of neglect. At the time of dissolving the elected body, the councillors were told that all their works would be done but nobody was ready to listen to them when they went with complaints received from the residents of their wards.

Former president of the council, Rajinder Singh Rana, said that not a single estimate for any development work had been prepared by the upgraded civic body in the past four months. Even work in connection with estimates worth Rs 11 crore cleared by the general house in December had not been started as yet. Only parking areas in markets were being repaired, estimates of which were passed much earlier by the former elected body.

He said former councillors had agreed to cut short their term thinking that the formation of the corporation would accelerate development in the town but nothing such had happened. This has proved that the government only wanted to unseat the Congress-backed president of the civic body and dissolve the elected body as it was the only way out



Youth falls from second floor, dies

Zirakpur, May 4
A 21-year-old youth, identified as Vicky, a resident of Bazzigar Colony, Nagla, died after he fell from the second floor of Spangle Heights in Dhakoli village here this afternoon.

Investigating official Harbinder Singh said the incident took place when Vicky had come to Spangle Heights for installing a DTH, along with an electrician. When he was drilling a hole in the wall, he slipped and fell down accidentally.

He sustained injuries and was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, where he was declared brought dead, the investigating official added.

The police said the body had been handed over to the family after conducting a post-mortem. An inquest proceeding has been initiated. — TNS



Insurance company told to pay Rs  7 lakh
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 4
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited to refund Rs 7 lakh to a resident of Sante Majra village given as premium along with the interest for unfair trade practice and deficiency in service.

In an order pronounced by BS Mehandiratta, president of the forum, here on May 2, the ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited was directed to refund the premium amount of Rs 7lakh to Harcharan Singh along with the interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum from the date of payment(Dec 24,2007) till the date of actual refund.

The company should also pay to the complainant costs of litigation to the tune of Rs 5,000.

Harcharan Singh told the forum that in December, 2007, he was approached by Jagdish Singh, advisor to the life insurance company at the instance of Hardev Singh,who worked with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited in Phase IX here for making investments.

The complainant told them that he could not invest in a plan where he was required to pay regular premiums. The aforesaid two persons told the complainant that he would be required to make only an one-time investment which would give him recurring income in future. On their advice, the complainant paid them Rs 7lakh by way of one-time investment regarding which a receipt (dated December 24,2007) was issued to him.

The complainant was also assured that after the completion of three years, he could take refund of his premium with a rate of interest, which was guaranteed between 15 per cent to 18 per cent along with benefits of the policy.His signatures were obtained on some printed documents.

In 2010, the complainant approached the ICICI office here to get benefits of the policy but was shocked to hear that he would get only surrender value after deductions to the tune of 66 per cent of the amount paid.

Under the policy, the complainant was required to pay a total premium of Rs 35 lakh at the rate of Rs 7lakh per annum for five years. This information was not disclosed to him at any point of time.

The representatives of the insurance company, however, claimed that the complaint was false, frivolous and vexatious and amounted to abuse of process of this forum. There was no unfair trade practice or deficiency in service on their part.

Only one premium under the policy in question was paid by the complainant. The complainant failed to make payment of the subsequent premiums. Therefore, the policy was foreclosed as per the terms and conditions.

The policy was a legal contract between the policyholder and the insurance company and the parties to it were bound by its terms and conditions. The policy in question was “Premium Life Pension” policy.They denied the allegation of any misrepresentation in selling the policy to the complainant. 



Interactive session on signs, symptoms of asthma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
On the occasion of the World Asthma Day, an interactive session “You can control your asthma” was yesterday conducted at St Stephen’s School by Dr Sandip Jain, consultant, paediatrics, Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

Over 600 students of Classes VIII, IX and X as well as staff members of the school participated in the session.

Dr Jain explained signs and symptoms of asthma that one needs to recognise.

“The common symptoms that point towards possibility of asthma in children are persistent cough, especially at night time or after exercise, wheezing or whistling noise when child breathes out, breathing difficulties or complaints of tightness in chest, repeated chest infections or frequent need of nebulisers in doctors clinic,” he stated.

Focusing on the asthma triggers, Dr Jain explained, “The chronic inflammation found in all asthma patients is frequently triggered by allergens (dust, house mites, mold, pets, smoke and pollution), weather change, vigorous exercise and viral infections, thereby causing an asthma attack. Each child may have different trigger factors working on their airway and there are ways to minimise them.”



Students develop economical bike, car

Panchkula, May 4
A battery-operated multipurpose adventure bike and a car was developed by final year students of the department of mechanical engineering, Shree Ram Mulkh (SRM) Institute of Engineering and Technology, Khora Bhura. A 250W motor supported by 48V dry chargeable battery costs around Rs 48,000.

One of the students, Himanshu Sharma, giving details about the car said the car was economical to use and its cost almost equivalent to that of a scooter or a bike. By charging the battery once, it can travel the distance of about 50 km and running cost of the vehicle was around 70 paise per km appromimately, he added.

Congratulating the students, chief managing director of the group, Er Roshan Lal Jindal said the institute would lend full support to the students. — TNS



“World Asthma Day”

Chandigarh: Harmanjeet Kaur won the first prize in a drawing competition organised by the department of pediatrics, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, on the occasion of “World Asthma Day.” 

More than 50 children participated in the event. Winners (below 5 years group): Harmanjeet Kaur, Inderjeet, and Udhav Garg stood first, second and third, respectively; above 5 years group: first prize went to Rajat, while Gagan Singh and Kumud got second and third prizes, respectively. — TNS



Roll numbers to be a click away
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Come next academic session and over 2.25 lakh students appearing in various Panjab University examinations would be able to get their roll numbers/admit cards online.

Deviating from the conventional practice of printing and posting admit cards, the PU examination department has decided to put these online to make the system more user friendly and less cumbersome.

“We examine an average of over 2 lakh students every year. The age old practice of getting admit cards or roll numbers prepared, posting them and then addressing to objections and making rectifications is a cumbersome task for the examination department. As far as candidates are concerned, they also have to deal with various problems. We have taken a cue from various national-level examinations and have decided to put all roll numbers online so that students can download them,” said Controller of Examination, PU, AK Bhandari.

We plan to develop an accomplished VSPN network. According to the plans, following their registration, the students will be informed about “deficiencies” in the forms if any online only. Following a rectification, the students will be able to download their photo admit cards.

“The system would be introduced in the next academic session. We are still working out some finer details like how to scan pictures and put them on cards. The process would be complete in few weeks and we will be giving online admit cards soon,” added Bhandari.

Prior to this, Panjab University has made registration of counselling for CET online, where rather than filling numerous forms, a student will just have to register online. Based on the facts, they will be allotted subsequent seats, which will then be announced at the counselling.

Other Reforms

l Introduction of semester system for all courses in Panjab University and postgraduate courses in affiliated colleges, for students permitted to study through distant learning and also private candidates.

l Introduction of continuous open evaluation system for all courses barring law, wherein a student would have an access to his answersheets and any anomaly would be rectified through specially constituted committees or board of controls. For table evaluated secrecy coded answer books of its centrally conducted examination, a student can view his answersheet by paying a special fee. If there is any totalling mistake or any question is unmarked, it is corrected immediately and his fee is refunded.

l A student can now apply for re-evaluation up to three months from the date of declaration of results by paying special fee.

l Photographs to be printed on examination attendance sheets to deal with problem of impersonation.

l Introduction of choice-based credit-cum-grading system for all postgraduate courses running on campus, affiliated colleges.

l To deal with discrepancies and “fake degree” menace, Panjab University has introduced giving degrees with coloured photographs and detailed marksheets are also auto generated and printed on especially designed UV security coded stationary.



‘Teach Punjabi or get NOC cancelled’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 4
No objection certificates of private schools affiliated to the CBSE or ICSE in Punjab will be cancelled in case Punjabi is not taught to students in these institutions, said Sewa Singh Sekhwan, education and language minister, here today.

The minister, who presided over a meeting of the state-level language committee, said the government was committed to make Punjabi popular in the state. Checking would be done to find out which schools had not introduced Punjabi, failing which fines varying between Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh could also be imposed.

He said there was a need to get united for spreading our mother tongue in the state. He asked the director of the languages department to initiate action against the schools, which were ignoring the language. He gave one-week time for setting up a committee for the approval of Punjabi software and keyboard for use in computers.



50 pc cut in tuition fee for physically challenged
Tribune News Service

Ambala, May 4
The E-Max Group of Institutions is collaborating with some NGOs of the region to work on youth development issues. This was disclosed by the chairman of the institution, Om Parkash Aggarwal during an interaction with mediapersons here today.

Om Parkash Aggarwal announced a cut of 50 per cent in tuition fee for physically challenged and children of widows. Free books would also be provided to the students of this category. He told the mediapersons that to encourage excellence in academics, the management had decided to give a number of scholarships to meritorious students on the basis of their marks in Class XII examination. 



From Schools

PANCHKULA: Shobhit Goel, a student of Class XII (science stream), Satluj Public School, Sector 4, Panchkula, has been selected among the 20 finalists worldwide for the Star Race Worldwide Space Olympiad (Star-Challenge), which was held in the end of April 2011. Principal Krit Serai in a press release said this Olympiad, supported by UNESCO, Russian Government, was dedicated to the anniversary of Yuti Gargarin’s flight into the outer space. After three rounds of the Olympiad, 20 finalists were selected to go to Paris and Shobhit gave his presentations in UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

Oath-taking ceremony

MOHALI: The student council for 2011-2012 was sworn in which they took charge of their responsibilities with great zeal and enthusiasm. The proceedings started with the school prayer followed by the oath-taking ceremony. Divya Nagpal and Manu Sareen are selected as head girl and head boy of the school and Jasmeet Kaur as the girls’ sports captain and Neeraj Mishra as the boys’ sports captain. Harmandeep Singh was selected as school prefect and Sahil Aggarwal as sports prefect. While taking the oath, the councillors assured that they would work hard for excellence in all fields and uphold the school traditions.


THE GREAT DIVIDE: Students of Lawrence Public Senior Secondary School, Mohali, post cards to their mothers for the Mother’s Day, while deprived children stand unconcerned.
THE GREAT DIVIDE: Students of Lawrence Public Senior Secondary School, Mohali, post cards to their mothers for the Mother’s Day, while deprived children stand unconcerned. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Students of Class II of Lawrence Public Senior Secondary School, Mohali, visited the Phase VII post office to post the Mother’s Day cards to their mothers.

The cards and paper envelopes were made by them in the activity classes, which are intended to make them more skillful in life.

Visiting a post office and posting a card in the post box made them understand the importance of services offered by the postal department to society. – TNS





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