C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CAT stays appointment of CTU bus conductors
n Ram Niwas issued notice n Home Secy accused of rampant favouritism
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Acting on a petition alleging large-scale irregularities in the recruitment process for CTU conductors, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today stayed the final appointment of 144 candidates selected as bus conductors, while simultaneously issuing notices to UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas following allegations that he had facilitated his favourites and acquaintances to these posts.

It has been alleged that of the 144 selected candidates, as many as 139 hailed from the home district of Ram Niwas, a 1986-batch Haryana-cadre officer on deputation to the UT administration. The petition has been filed by a number of unsuccessful candidates, who alleged gross irregularities.

Significantly, the petition also lists all recruitments done by the Chandigarh administration, which are already under the scanner, during the tenure of UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas. These, according to the petition, include selection of teachers in 2008, selection of firemen in 2010, selection of nurses and doctors and recruitment to CITCO, all during Ram Niwas’ tenure. “There are several complaints pending before the Central Vigilance Commission with regard to these selections,” the petition further reads.

It has also been alleged that many candidates who were declared successful and had scored over 90 marks were not even able to fill in their form properly. Some were unable to write their names, which were corrected later by making handwritten changes on the forms. The recruitment process is already being inquired by the CBI. 



Four die in well
n Were suffocated n All for a coin
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, May 20
In a tragic incident, four persons died of suffocation in a 20-foot-deep well in the Kaushlaya river near Pinjore.

According to information available, the incident took place after a five-rupee coin of Sonu (12) fell in the well.

He descended into the well using the iron ladder inside in search of the coin. His playmates raised an alarm.

Urmil (28), in an attempt to save him, went in, but did not come back. When Bhupinder (32), her husband, came to know about it, he rushed into the well, but fainted.

Bunti (18), Sonu’s cousin, also rushed in to help them. A vegetable seller, he met the same fate. An eyewitness informed the police and the fire department.

A youth of the area, Sanjay helped in pulling the four bodies out of the well. The bodies were sent to the Pinjore primary health centre for post-mortem examination. The deceased reportedly died of suffocation. Panchkula DC Ashima Brar and the Kalka SDM visited the spot. 



GMCH employee gets 18-month RI for graft 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The CBI court today convicted a junior assistant with Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, to 18 months of rigorous imprisonment (RI) in a case of corruption.

The court has also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on convict Mohan Singh. The CBI had nabbed him while accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 for changing a medical report in 2009.

The case was registered in February 2009 when Mohan Singh was posted in the surgery wing of GMCH-32. He demanded money from Varinder Bansal, a resident of Mohali, to give a favourable medico-legal certificate to the latter, who was accused in a case of causing injuries to another person. CBI special public prosecutor Pawan Kumar Dogra said during the proceedings of the case, the complainant had turned hostile and deposed that it was a doctor posted in the surgery department who had demanded the bribe through Mohan Singh. However, the CBI had enough evidence to nail the accused and the claim made by the complainant was found to be null and void. 



Verka milk products dearer
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 20
Following an increase in procurement price of milk, Verka’s Mohali plant has increased the prices all milk products with effect from tomorrow.

Since January, the price of milk has been increased by Rs 3 per litre. Plant’s general manager Balbir Singh said the hike had become imminent due to the increasing procurement price of milk.

Sources said the prices of all milk products had been increased by around 20 per cent. Giving details, officials said the price of a 200-gram pack of curd had been increased from Rs 10 to Rs 12 and the rate of a 400-gram pack of curd had been increased from Rs 19 to Rs 22.

A 200-gram pack of paneer would now cost Rs 38 instead of Rs 35 while the price of a one-litre pack of plain ‘lassi’ had been increased from Rs 17 to 20 and a 200-gram pack of ‘kheer’ would cost Rs 15 instead of Rs 12. 



Resumption notice for Uppal
n Builder had violated MoU, says MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The municipal corporation (MC) has decided to issue a resumption notice to the Uppal Housing Project Company for violating terms of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) and building bylaws in its housing project at Mani Majra.

UT Deputy Commissioner-cum-MC Commissioner Bijender Singh disclosed this during the General House meeting of the MC and said action would be taken against the company for violations. On the complaint of Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma that the company had flouted the MoU by not constructing 25 houses for economically weaker sections (EWS), a five-member committee of the estate office and the MC had inspected the project and tabled its report today.

As per the report presented by MC Joint Commissioner Kamlesh, a provisional occupation certificate was issued to the company by the estate office, but the company had submitted a revised building plan for 25 EWS houses. During inspection, it was found that EWS houses were not constructed as per the revised building plan.

The committee pointed out that the location of the kitchen and the toilet had been change at the site. The partition wall of the rear courtyard and balcony had not been constructed. The toilet seats at five EWS units were temporarily fixed, without connecting those to service lines.

The report also mentioned that the covered area of each unit varied from 222.53 square feet to 389.96 square feet, whereas it should be uniform. The specifications of EWS houses at the site were quite lavish, which included tiled flooring, teakwood cupboards, granite shelves and bathtubs in washrooms.

Chander Mukhi Sharma demanded that the responsibility of the estate office and MC officials for negligence be fixed by the authorities. 


In 2005, the Delhi-based Uppal Housing Project Company had got a 5.39-acre plot at Mani Majra, at a cost of Rs 108.01 crore, in an auction for the housing project.



The Buzz
Cop scales new heights

A 42-year-old police sub-inspector, Chiranji Lal Moudgil, became the first Chandigarh cop to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. Moudgil, who returned to the city from his month-long mountaineering expedition on Friday, was a member of a group of 25 persons from all over the country which attended a training camp in Nepal prior to setting off to scale Mount Everest. Moudgil, attached with the Chandigarh Police’s economic offences wing, described the feat as the “most memorable moment” of his life.

2 UAVs from Bangalore

Five city policemen returned home on Friday after attending a training course in Bangalore on operating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). UT Inspector-General of Police PK Srivastava said two UAVs were brought to the city from Bangalore today and would be put to use shortly. — TNS 


Firm had no permission to lay underground cables: Police
n Authorities seek legal opinion n Police to register FIR
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The vigilance cell of the UT Police today confirmed that Digi Cables had no requisite permission to lay underground cables in Sector 34.

The police has sent a recommendation to the UT Adviser to register an FIR against the company officials and have also sought legal opinion in the matter.

The police had raided the area opposite Sector 34 two days ago where underground cables were being laid allegedly without permission. The company did a vanishing act the next day. Today, the police checked the records of the Municipal Corporation and found that the cable company had no permission to lay cables.

"An FIR will soon be registered after we are over with our investigations," said an official.

Issue rocks MC

The issue of underground cables being laid illegally became the topic of heated discussion in the MC General House meeting on Friday.

A majority of councillors claimed that the authorities were clueless regarding the work conducted by the private company in the city without their permission. Councillors demanded that an FIR should be lodged against the company and it should be blacklisted from the MC also.

MC superintending engineer, public health, Mukesh Anand said they had impounded the machines of the company as and when the authorities got information about the illegal work in the city. He confirmed the company had sought not sought permission for the work.

Deputy Commissioner Bijender Singh said MC Additional Commissioner Sunil Bhatia would conduct an inquiry into the matter.



Youth, women get raw deal in Cong panel
n Sitting councillors ignored n Defeated nominated
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
In a development that bodes ill for the ruling Congress in the forthcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, the Congress high command has given a raw deal to women and youth in the reconstituted Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC).

Old guard is the clear choice for the Congress in the CTCC as veteran leaders find prominent place in the recast body which bears a distinct stamp of Pawan Bansal, local MP and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.

Incidentally, the list contains the names of five leaders, Pawan Sharma, Pushpa Sharma, Jagat Sharma, Surinder Singh and Subhash Chawla, who were defeated in the MC poll in 2006. However, sitting councillors are conspicuous by their absence in the panel.

The CTCC, which comes into being nearly a year after the election of BB Bahl as the CTCC chief, has Ram Pal Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, DD Jindal and Surinder Singh as the vice-president.

While Pawan Sharma, Subhash Chawla, Gurbachan Singh, Pushpa Sharma and Sohan Lal Vaid will be the new general secretaries and Jagat Sharma will be the treasurer. Devinder Kumar Lobana will replace rebel Congress councillor Jagjit Singh Kang as the president of the District Congress Committee (Rural).

Though the Congress could have relied on the old guard, yet “step-motherly” treatment to women and youth could prove to be a dampener in the party’s bid to retain power in the MC poll later this year. 

Scope for expansion

n When contacted, CTCC chief BB Bahl claimed the principle of “one man one post” had deprived many young MC councillors of a chance to be nominated to the CTCC. There is still scope for the expansion of the CTCC, he added.

Cong vs BJP

n As compared to the Congress, a substantial number of BJP office-bearers, including president and general secretaries, are comparatively younger. While the Congress claimed that the experience of senior leaders would come in handy in the MC poll, the BJP leadership contended its youthful image would click with the young generation. 



Clean-up drive launched at Zirakpur
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, May 20
The Zirakpur Municipal Council today launched a drive to clean up drains before the starting of monsoons. The council has begun the process of cleaning the drains in an attempt to ensure that the Zirakpur residents do not face any inconvenience due to stagnant rainwater on the roads and streets this monsoon.

Divulging the information, Gurdarshan Singh, an inspector in the Municipal Council, stated that the clean-up drive had started from a seasonal drain near Choice Resort road in Baltana. The drain ended at the Air Force Station.

He said last year, the rainwater had entered the Air Force area, due to which the cleaning-up operation was started early this time.

“We hope to end the process of cleaning the drains in the town before monsoon begins”, he added.

Singh said he would write to the PWD department to clean up the drain where they had constructed service roads. 

Gearing up for monsoon

n It is to ensure that residents do not face any inconvenience due to stagnant rainwater on roads and streets this monsoon 



Publish corrigendum for all posts: PU syndics
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
A day after Panjab University published a corrigendum in newspapers correcting the qualifications required by candidates for two key administrative posts - the registrar and controller of examinations, a section of PU syndicate members are disturbed over the varsity officials’ “attitude” yet again.

Syndicate member AS Bedi on Friday wrote another letter to vice chancellor Ranbir Chander Sobti asking him to publish a corrigendum for two other important posts other than the registrar and controller of examinations.

“As decided at the last syndicate meeting the university didn’t update the criteria for candidates applying for the posts of dean and assistant dean of the college development council. It’s a known fact that PU officials want to appoint a favourite in certain posts. Though the syndicate had collectively decided a corrigendum would be published for all posts, why have those for dean and assistant dean of the college development council been left out? It’s a deliberate attempt and varsity officials though that one corrigendum, which was also sent in haste, would be sufficient,” said Bedi.

On May 19 it was mentioned in PU’s corrigendum that for the posts of registrar and controller of examinations “experience in educational administration as per UGC norms” would be needed.

The issue of filling up important administrative posts in the Panjab University administration has been in the eye of the storm due to the delay. The process began in June 2009 and has been hanging fire ever since.

While PU officials claim “no suitable candidate could be found”, varsity insiders point out it is due to “internal politics” within certain “lobbies” of syndicate and senate members because of which the posts have not yet been filled.



Tricity Scan
Training programme

Laying emphasis on the fact that the process of decision making must focus on adopting a systematic approach, the three-day training programme on ‘Problem Solving and Decision Making’, organised by Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Punjab (MGSIPAP), concluded here today with a lesson to participants: “Don’t get too tied-up in a problem but leap for a bold solution”. Ramesh Inder Singh, Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab, while presiding over the valedictory function of the training programme said the event was of paramount importance in the administrative functioning and governance, as officers trained under the programme would significantly contribute towards bringing about efficiency and effectiveness in their respective organisations. He lauded the role of MGSIPAP in activating the system of governance through its varied knowledge and training-based programmes.

Caught red-handed

An attempt was made to steal a battery of a bus in the CTU workshop here
today. The accused has been identified as Sonu. A case was registered on the complaint of security guard of the workshop Nafe Singh.

Pep talk by Kapil Dev

Cricket legend Kapil Dev told youngsters that hard work and commitment were the key to success in any field. He was addressing a gathering during a press conference organised by UEI Global Institute at Punjab Kala Kendra, Sector 16, here on Friday.

Ex-minister’s plea dismissed

A lower court on Friday dismissed an application moved by a former minister and co-accused in the J&K sex scandal, who had sought discharge from the trial. Earlier, other co-accused in the case had also filed similar applications, seeking discharge from the trial on the grounds that witnesses had turned hostile. Their applications were pending adjudication. The directions were passed on an application filed by Ghulam Ahmed Mir.

One held with drugs

The police has arrested Rajbir Singh, a resident of Sisha village, Hisar district, from Sector-20/30 lights point and recovered 700-g opium from his possession. A case under Section 18 NDPS Act was registered at the Sector 19 police station.

Car buyers put to inconvenience

Certain buyers of ‘Mahindra Thar’ vehicle, who want to get theirvehicles registered in the city, are facing a lot of inconvenience. These vehicles are not being registered by the Chandigarh Motor Registering Authority. Reason, the newly launched model is yet to be approved by the UT State Transport Authority (STA). “Yet, certain local dealers are continuing to sell vehicles,” alleged Pardeep Gupta, who wants to get his vehicle registered. Gupta, who resides in Sector 33, alleged that he had purchased the vehicle from Goel Motors Private Limited, Mohali, on January 24. “I was taken aback when permanent registration of the vehicle was denied by an official of the Chandigarh Motor Registering Authority saying that he did not have the required vehicle code,” he added.

mohali scan
Punjab Lambardar Union honours Punjab DGP

The Punjab Lambardar Union today honoured Punjab DGP PS Gill for issuing orders to the district police chiefs to return the case property items recovered in cases of theft and robbery that had been solved. Earlier, the claimants of the case property items had to make endless rounds of the courts and police stations. The union urged the DGP to direct the district police chiefs to not include the lambardars under Section 120 B of the IPC in property dispute cases at villages. The DGP assured the union members to do the needful. The event was organised by Tarlochan Singh Mann, president, Punjab Lambardar Union.

NGO formed

A former senior Punjab-cadre bureaucrat JS Bir has formed an NGO ‘Ekam 1699’ with a view to expose corruption in politics. While addressing mediapersons, Bir, who was recently in news for taking pre-mature retirement allegedly after differences with the Punjab Chief Minister, said the main reason behind the step was to expose the double standards of politicians and bureaucrats, to work for the preservation of environment, and to work fort the rehabilitation of sex workers. Making a political statement, Bir praised Manpreet Badal for taking a stand against corruption. 

Chain snatched

Madhu, a resident of Phase VI, complained to the police that an unidentified person had snatched her gold chain while she was having a morning walk. — TNS



Annoyed with MC’s unfulfilled promises
n BJP councillor distributes ‘lollipops’ among officials
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Disappointed Opposition councillor Gurcharan Dass Kala (extreme left), flanked by Jagjit Singh Kang, offers a ‘lollipop’ to Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh (right) during a General House meeting at the MC’s office in Sector 17, Chandigarh
Disappointed Opposition councillor Gurcharan Dass Kala (extreme left), flanked by Jagjit Singh Kang, offers a ‘lollipop’ to Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh (right) during a General House meeting at the MC’s office in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, May 20
Tired over dilly-dallying tactics of the MC officials in starting a water supply project at Mani Majra, elected BJP councillor Gurcharan Das Kala today distributed 'lollipops' among officials during a General House meeting. “They have been giving me ‘lollipops’, so I thought of giving them the same,” Kala said on the floor of the House while justifying his act.

“What to talk of the common man, even the elected councillors have to register their protest against the attitude of the officials. The project has been hanging fire for the past four years,” he said.

Soon after an assurance given by officials that the water supply project would become functional by next month, Kala stood up and started distributing ‘lollipops’ in the official gallery. He gave it to the Mayor and MC Commissioner.

“I am distributing these ‘lollipops’ in the House, as this is what I have been getting from them for the past four years,” Kala said in the well of the House.

Reports of the corporation showed that in 2008 after spending Rs 8 crore, the MC had laid a water supply pipeline in Mani Majra for connecting it with Kajauli water works in order to bring additional water for residents of the area.

As per the reports, the corporation had laid the pipeline but till date it had not been connected with water works. For the past one year, Gurcharan Das Kala had been raising this issue in the House and false assurances had been given to him every month. 

Sidelights of General House

n MC is mulling over having an electro crematorium for animals.

n MC Commissioner directed officials to outsource work pertaining to 21 fountains within next 10 days. The project has been hanging fire for long.

n Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh pointed out in the meeting that even after sending invite to councillors for a seminar on Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREGA) to discuss various schemes, except Pallav Mukherjee, nobody had turned up.

n Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh directed officials to prepare status report of all pending projects within a week.

n Amending recruitment rules for enforcement staff, the House approved that there would be 60 per cent placement by promotion and 40 per cent by direct recruitment.

n Proposal to frame a policy to charge the company laying underground wires on the MC land.

n Out of 144 cable operators in the city, 39 cable operators have not paid bills. The House directed officials to recover the pending amount by the end of this month.

n Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma raised an issue in the House that officials were not tabling replies sent to them on time. He demanded action against the guilty officials.



GMSH to get contract staff’s qualifications checked
n Employee service provider told to focus on OT assistants
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The academic credentials of over 700 contractual employees sourced from outside at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, will be verified within the next fifteen days. Hospital officials have set up a committee to look into academic qualifications and experience of these staffers with “sensitive” technical jobs like operation theatre technicians and assistants, dental hygienists and assistants, physiotherapists, dieticians and ambulance drivers.

The hospital administration, however, appears to be laying special stress on OT assistants as in a separate letter issued to its employee service provider the latter has been asked to get their courses and diplomas certified from the institutes concerned. The provider has also been told to verify these institutes are affiliated or recognized by the board or university as claimed, as also to submit the employees’ academic certificates and documents.

“The requisite information should reach GMSH within fifteen days failing which the authorities will presume you have nothing to say in this matter and will consider all certificates null and void,” the letter to service provider read.

The move has been triggered by the detection of colour blindness in an employee, Randhir, who was hired as a hospital ambulance driver two years ago. The ailment was detected during a medical examination conducted last month at the hospital. He was immediately sacked and opened a Pandora’s box by claiming many other technical staff members at the hospital sourced through the service provider did not have the required educational and technical qualifications.

Stir enters Day 2

The strike by contractual employees at the GMSH-16 entered the second day on Friday. However, only 30 to 40 staffers participated in it as compared to 150 on Thursday. The only problem faced was that in many OPDs it was tough to handle the patients in the absence of attendants.

“Their demands may be genuine but they can’t hold the hospital to ransom as the matter is between them and their contractor. Every second month they go on an unscheduled strike leaving patients harried. They’re a part of the hospital. The basic requirement for being employed here is being patient friendly and those who don’t have this quality won’t be here for long,” said GMSH deputy medical superintendent 
GS Diwan.



Legal literacy clubs opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Under its legal literacy mission, the State Legal Services Authority, UT, opened Students’ legal literacy clubs at Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 19, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Modern Housing Complex and Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 22 today.

The scheme has been started by the authority along with the NSS Cell, Chandigarh, to create awareness among people with the help of school students. 



Giving cops paying guests’ details must
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
On the lines of registration of servants at police stations, local residents who intend to offer accommodation to paying guests have to furnish details of these paying guests to the station house officer under whose jurisdiction the premises are.

The UT District Magistrate (DM) today issued directions in this regard. This would have to be done within a month from the issuance of orders, failing which they would be liable to prosecution under Section 188 of the IPC.

As an emergency measure, the DM also ordered that local residents, including landlords, tenants and those running commercial establishments, would not employ any domestic servant, help or part-time maid unless his or her particulars were furnished to the SHO concerned in writing in the form designed by the local police.

Any breach of this order would invite action under Section 188 of the IPC. The orders would come in to force with effect from tomorrow and would be effective for 60 days, till July 19.

These steps had been taken to ensure that there was no breeding ground for anti-social elements in the guise of paying guests and that they were not able to hide themselves in the city.



PU Senate goes lenient with students’ attendance
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The minimum attendance criteria for electronics final semester students to appear for exams have been lowered from 80 to 70 per cent by the highest governing body of the PEC University of Technology- the Senate.

Considering the case in which several final semester PEC students got admissions into top business schools, including the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), MDI, IIFT, etc but couldn’t meet the minimum attendance criteria, the Senate has decided to exempt their attendance shortfall.

“The Senate took a student-centric decision and lowered the attendance criteria from 80 to 70 per cent for electronics final semester students. Students were worried about their shortfall and most of them have already got admission in top B-Schools of the country. But this was an exceptional case,” said Sanjeev Sofat, PEC, Dean (academics).

However, PEC officials added that subsequent batches would be warned not to repeat the same. “We will be strict next year and students will be told in advance that no special exemptions will be granted,” said Sofat.

According to sources, out of 66 students in final semester of electronics, 60 students never attended the laboratory classes. Besides, 29 students of the same batch also failed to meet the attendance criteria in the computer architecture subject.

It was only when the first list of such students, who could not meet the attendance criteria, was released by the department last week, students and their parents got anxious.

It was uncertain if these students would be passed in their final semester exam, since the internal marks of laboratory and computer architecture subject were in the hands of teachers.

“We are all relieved and are preparing for our final semester exams now. I think if PEC had not taken this step, it would have been tough for students. Most of them would have been emotionally shattered even as they admit that they should have been more regular in college while preparing for CAT exam and interviews,” said a final semester student.



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