C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Traffic goes haywire as thousands throng BSP rally
Unmanned aerial vehicles deployed for surveillance of venue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Cmmuters were caught in chaotic traffic jams on the streets leading from Mohali to the Sector 25 rally ground as over 25,000 supporters of the Bahujan Samaj Party descended on the city from other states to attend Mayawati’s rally on Sunday. The snarlups began at 10 in the morning and continued to make life difficult for residents till late in the evening.

However, with over 1,500 cops deployed for security, no untoward incident was reported and the rally went off peacefully.

Jams were witnessed at the Tribune roundabout, on the road leading to the Faidan barrier and near the Sector 39 grain market, which was the route earmarked for vehicles heading for the rally ground.

All the streets leading from the PCA stadium saw a heavy rush and chaos ruled as thousands of BSP supporters made a beeline to the rally venue.

Traffic jams were also seen near the small roundabout of Sector 38.

The road from Sector 47 towards the Sector 38 (West) roundabout remained choked for the larger part of the day.

The entire stretch from Hotel Taj in Sector 17 to the rally venue in Sector 25 remained under heavy security with armed personnel deployed on the both sides of the street. No vehicle was allowed to enter the city without being thoroughly frisked.

Strict parking arrangements

In order to ensure vehicles were properly parked the local police hired recovery vans to manage the chaos. Besides interceptor vehicles were also deployed and over 300 cops and home guard volunteers made tight traffic arrangements to control and manage the rush of vehicles at the Sector 25 ground where thousands of people converged to attend the rally. With heavy vehicles parked near the Sector 38 gurudwara, the supporters reached the rally venue by walking there. As a result the road outside the rally ground was made a “no vehicle zone” and only fire safety vehicles and ambulances were stationed on this particular stretch to move immediately after getting any emergency call.

First trial flights of UAVs

The Chandigarh police conducted trial flights of two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), named ‘Netra’ and ‘Golden Hawk’, for the first time during Sunday’s rally today. Both the UAVs were deployed at the Tribune roundabout in the at around 8:30 am and were later brought to the Sector 25 rally venue where they were utilized for surveillance of the area till the time the rally got over. The arrival of thousands of supporters for the rally and the traffic situation was thus effectively monitored with the use of the two aerial vehicles.

It was also noticed that both UAVs needed improvement in the quality of the camera which is unable to zoom in on an individual’s face. Besides, only one UAV can be in the air at a time. Senior police officials have asked the Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) to rectify these flaws. UT inspector general of police Pradeep Kumar Srivastava, senior superintendent of police Naunihal Singh, SP (operations) RS Ghumman, SP (traffic) HS Doon, DSP (traffic) Vijay Kumar and DSP (PCR & communications) Roshan Lal were among the seniors officers present during the first exhaustive trial run of the UAVs. 



Ahead of MC poll, Mayawati fails to mention Chandigarh in her speech
Disheartens party cadre, which plans to call her again before polls this year
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati failed to strike a local chord at the North Zone Workers’ Conference here today.Even as the BSP leader raised accusing fingers at the Opposition’s attempts to “destablise” the UP government she failed to even mention Chandigarh in her 44-minute speech in the backdrop of the forthcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) later this year.

While she specially mentioned Punjab, where elections are due early next year, Chandigarh’s “omission” from the speech clearly disheartended the party cadre, who were naturally expecting a pep talk from her leader.

“We sweated it out for several weeks to make the rally a grand success. However, party supremo’s brief mention of the party’ s strategy for the forthcoming MC polls could have a been a morale booster for the local cadre,” a senior local leader requesting anonymity, said.

The local leadership, including in charge of the party affairs for Chandigarh Narinder Kashyap, has been camping at the rally ground in Sector 25 for several days to make “fool proof” arrangements for the rally, which was touted to be a show of strength ahead of the Punjab Assembly elections.

In fact, today’s speech was in sharp contrast to the speech she delivered before the May 2009 Lok Sabha elections in April 2009 in support of party candidate Harmohan Dhawan. On that occasion, she seemed to have a good grasp of the local politics and had lashed out at the local government for giving a raw deal to the residents on civic amenities front in a modern city like Chandigarh. Incidently, while other mainline national parties barring the Congress and the BJP are yet to open their account in the MC, the BSP bagged one seat in the 2006 civic body elections. It is customary for the top national leaders to talk about the local issues whenever they address rallies in the respective states and union territories.

However, party leaders claimed that mere presence of the BSP chief at the rally sent the right signal to the party cadre in the run up to the MC poll and would serve as a morale booster. Since it was a north zone convention, the mention of the MC poll would have been a bit out of place. “We will make efforts to call the BSP supremo again ahead of the MC poll when she can talk about the local issues in detail,” a senior leader added.



Rain springs pleasant surprise on city residents
Lowers temperature in the evening by 13°C
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune news service
 Amaltas flowers lying on the Sector 9 -10 dividing road after the rain in Chandigarh on Sunday evening.
FLOWERY PATH Amaltas flowers lying on the Sector 9 -10 dividing road after the rain in Chandigarh on Sunday evening. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, May 29
The long stretch of scorching heat and endless sweating finally got a break as the city received a pleasant surprise of evening rain showers, accompanied by hail in some areas this evening, bringing the temperature down by 13 degrees celsius.

The meteorological department attributed the sudden change in weather to local westerly disturbances and maintained that showers had nothing to do with the monsoons, which are still sometime away.

According to the department, the maximum temperature today was 39.4 degrees celsius (recorded at 5.30 pm), which came down to 26.4 degrees celsius after the rainfall. The minimum temperature was recorded 28.2 degrees celsius at 8.30 am this morning.

By late afternoon, the bright sunny day gave way to an overcast sky with dark clouds covering the city's skyline and the evening downpour, which was preceded by cool moist winds, leading to a drastic fall in temperature. By 8.30 pm, the city received over 11.10 mm of rainfall, making the weather cool.

Officials at the Met office said the rainfall was "localised" and restricted to the city. They said it was the fallout of the heightened moisture in the air due to heavy downpour in Himachal Pradesh, which received almost 54 mm of rainfall today.

Prachi Arora, a housewife, expressing her joy over the rain, said, “This downpour might not be the beginning of monsoons but will surely lift the spirits of all those who have been tolerating the blazing heat.”

“The rainfall received by the city has indeed made people very happy,” said Monica Sharma, a student. She added that the
best thing about rain was that it gave her family an excuse to sit together and enjoy a feast of hot ‘pakoras’ and tea.

Apporva, who is visiting from Delhi, said, “We weren’t able to explore Chandigarh but now I hope good weather continues and we can enjoy the remaining days of our tour.”

Residents, however, will have to wait at least a month for the monsoon as the Met department has predicted the onset of monsoons in the last week of June. The forecast for Monday is partly cloudy sky in afternoon/evening. The maximum temperature on Monday will be around 39 degrees celsius.



17-yr-old raped

Mohali, May 29
A 17-year-old girl was allegedly kidnapped and raped by two youths at Sector 71 here last night. The victim, who was working as a domestic help at the house of a retired PCS officer in Sector 69, was taken away by youths- Raju and Nandu and was assaulted at a place in Sector 71.

After conducting raids, the girl was found and two youths were booked for abduction and rape. — TNS



PU syndics scrap key post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
At their meeting held on Sunday members of the Panjab University syndicate decided to abolish the position of associate dean of the college development council (CDC) with immediate effect. The move is expected to be approved by the senate, the varsity’s supreme governing body.

Keshav Malhotra, the council’s current associate dean, who was given additional charge of the post by the syndicate, would be relived from duty. The syndicate’s decision assumes significance in view of the current politicking on the campus.

In the last syndicate elections the Malhotra-Ashok Goyal lobby was defeated and later differences between them and senate member GK Chathrath created a stir in university politics. Later, principals of some colleges affiliated with PU even staged a ‘dharna’ (protest sit-in) outside the vice chancellor’s office, demanding Malhotra’s ouster. They alleged cases relating to certain colleges were being handled “selectively” those of some others were being “ignored or delayed”.

However, Malhotra had managed to retain charge of the position despite the political turmoil on the campus and refuted all charges levelled by some college principals.

The issue of abolishing the position of the CDC associate dean cropped up at today’s meeting when legal opinion was being given to the syndicate over qualifications in line with University Grants Commission (UGC) norms for the post as well as for that of the registrar and controller of examination. “The legal opinion said the post of the CDC associate dean was not mentioned by the UGC and the members then debated on why such a post existed at all. Some members pointed out the post was superfluous while others were of the view it wasn’t required as the UGC hadn’t prescribed the qualifications required,” said a syndicate member.

The syndicate members also resolved to readvertize the three posts of registrar, controller of examinations and dean of the college development council and call eligible candidates for interviews.

“The syndicate decided to follow the UGC norms strictly to fill up the posts. There won’t be any deadline this time,” said PU vice chancellor Ranbir Chander Sobti.

Also, a three-member committee, comprising senators Rabindernath Sharma, GK Chathrath and Dharinder Tayal, was set up to review the qualifications for the position of director of public relations. “The panel members will meet on Monday and submit the report on the qualifications to the vice chancellor,” said Sharma.

It was also resolved to conduct regular inspection in all colleges that do not have permanent affiliation. “There were certain pending cases where teachers who had completed their PhDs before 2009 and had been appointed as lectures in colleges but were awaiting approval by the vice chancellor. A committee headed by CDC dean Naval Kishore has been set up to look into the matter. Interviews for positions in PU’s youth welfare department will also be held shortly,” said RPS Josh, a PU fellow.

Key syndicate decisions

l Post of associate dean, college development council, to be abolished

l Posts of registrar, controller of examinations & dean of college development council to be readvertized

l All eligible candidates to be called for interview

l committee to review qualifications of public relations director set up

l Conveyance allowance for evaluators to be revived

l Regular inspections at colleges that don’t have permanent affiliation 


Gopal Dass marries Shimla girl
Tribune News Service

Gopal Dass with his bride at the Sector 12 gurdwara in Panchkula on Sunday.
Gopal Dass with his bride at the Sector 12 gurdwara in Panchkula on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, May 29
Gopal Dass, who returned to India after 27 years in Pakistani jails, tied the knot with a girl from Shimla at a gurdwara in Sector 12 here this morning. The couple will stay with their relatives in Chandimandir for the next couple of days.

“I am so happy to wed Pinky,” said the ecstatic groom. Gopal Dass of Gurdaspur, who was jailed on espionage charges, was released by Pakistan on April 7 with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari remitting his jail term.

Expressing displeasure for having been "disowned" by the government, he said it was only because of the efforts of his brother Anandveer that he was a free man today. “I have filed a case in the Supreme Court, claiming compensation,” he added.



Members of NGO visit paediatrics ward

Chandigarh, May 29
Members of an NGO, Tammana, today visited the paediatrics ward of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, to distribute cash vouchers among patients who cannot afford the cost of their treatment. The youngsters also gave roses and cards to the patients in the general ward and had decorated the ward to cheer up sick children.

As part of its 33rd annual event, Tammana, which has 95 volunteers across city colleges, PU and other institutions, the members have contributed Rs 300 each to the patients shortlisted by the NGO and the hospital. — TNS



UT sarkar’s slum rehabilitation scheme lures migrants into city
Those allotted pucca houses further renting out government land Due to consistent failure on part of the UT Administration to reclaim 200 acres of prime commercial property from unauthorised occupants of slums, the number of small kiosks in these colonies has increased manifold in the past five years. Several vacated jhuggi’s have been re-occupied in the colonies where earlier occupants have been rehabilitated by the administration. Those who are allotted pucca house are running the business of renting out government land for jhuggis.
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Sumeer Morya, a daily wage earner, who earns his living by doing petty electrical repair jobs, could never dream of raising a pucca house at his native place in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, even after spending his lifetime earnings.

Power theft Kundi connections in Colony No. 5 in Sector 50.

Five months ago, a phone call from his Chandigarh-based brother changed his life as he along with his family migrated to Colony Number 5, an illegal slum colony located near Sector 50, believing that he would get his dream house before the forthcoming Municipal Corporation elections. His conviction of getting his ‘dream house’ is not unfounded. “By the end of the year I will get my dream house as my brother did five years ago under the slum rehabilitation scheme by the sarkar”, he reasons.

Another daily wage earner Khush Ram who shifted to Colony Number 4, another illegal colony located near the Industrial Area phase 1, two years ago, is hopeful to get a pucca house. “Yahan ki sarkar bahut achhi hai jo humhein jhuggi ke badhleh ghar degi” (The administration here is very benevolent. It gives us a house in place of a jhuggi)”, he says.

With the elections to the Municipal Corporation round the corner and political parties eyeing the mass vote bank in the slum colonies, hundreds of migrants from Uttar Pradesh have set their foot in the city.

In the last five months, around 200 families from Uttar Pradesh have set up their shanties here. All are now hoping to get pucca (concrete) houses under the rehabilitation scheme of the UT Administration. If Khush Ram is to be believed, one of the leaders of a prominent political party has assured the families that pucca house will be allotted to them in return for their vote in the elections. No one from the UT Estate Office, he says, has visited the colony to check the illegal encroachment in the area.

This is not the story of only these two illegal colonies here, same is the case with the UTs 18 illegal colonies over the past two years. Every migrant is looking forward to an announcement that the UT Administration will soon come up with a fresh rehabilitation policy under which all of them will get their dream house in the city.

Due to consistent failure on part of the Administration to reclaim 200 acres of prime commercial property worth hundred of crores from unauthorised occupants of slums, the number of small kiosks in these colonies has increased manifold in the past five years. Several vacated jhuggi’s have been re-occupied in the colonies where earlier occupants have been rehabilitated by the administration. Those who are allotted pucca house are running the business of renting out government land for jhuggis.

This correspondent, posing as a person requiring a jhuggi for his labourers, approached a shopkeeper on the roadside in Colony Number 5. She was told that an unauthorised roadside kiosk could be had on a monthly rent for Rs 1,500 and a jhuggi could be rented out for Rs 1,000. She was told that besides getting a temporary shelter, all slum dwellers were lucky to get free of cost water supply and electricity connection at nominal rates.

Records of the department reveal that 6,970 families were residing in Colony Number 5,5,185 families at Colony Number 4, 3,167 families at Madrasi Colony, 1,852 families at Kumhar Colony, 1,815 families at Nehru Colony and 1,063 families at Janta Colony. But during a visit to these colonies one could find that the number of slum-dwellers had increased manifold in these colonies. In these colonies it is seen that on an average, every month 30 to 40 families shift to these colonies from other parts of the country.

But the fact is that after spending around Rs 1,187 crore on the resettlement project over 1 lakh “ineligible” slum-dwellers are still occupying the vacant land in these colonies and there is no check on it by the authorities. Accept undertaking routine encroachment drives in these colonies no other step is being taken to check them.

When asked about the growing number of slums in the city, UT estate office ADC ML Sharma said that, “We cannot stop anyone from living anywhere, but we will not allow anyone to grab the government land to put up jhuggis.” There is a full-fledged wing in the estate office to keep a watch on the encroachers and remove them. Records of the UT Administration show that as per the exiting Chandigarh Small Flats Schemes, 2006, dwelling units were to be allotted on a rental basis. The cut-off year was 2006 by which date the “name of the person should be in the latest voters list”.

As many as 23,841 “eligible” slum families, consisting of over 1 lakh population have been illegally squatting on over 200 acres of prime commercial land worth crores of rupees, will get houses under the slum rehabilitation scheme.

In the past 5 months 200 families form UP have come to city

l In the last five months, around 200 families from Uttar Pradesh have set up their shanties here. All are now hoping to get pucca (concrete) houses under the rehabilitation scheme of the UT Administration. If migrant Khush Ram is to be believed, one of the leaders of a prominent political party has assured the families that pucca house will be allotted to them in return for their vote in the elections. No one from the UT Estate Office, he says, has visited the colony to check the illegal encroachment in the area.

18 colonies are to be rehabilitated

Under the rehabilitation scheme, the inhabitants in the 18 colonies are to be rehabilitated at 25 places. Out of these, 13 were with the estate office, 10 with the Chandigarh Housing Board and two with the MC. According to a biometric survey by the estate office, a total of 23,841 families were staying in these colonies.

356 acres of land earmarked for rehabilitation projects

The administration has earmarked about 356 acres of land for the rehabilitation Each dwelling unit will cost Rs 4.7 lakh and will be allotted on a license-fee basis. The licence fee worked out will be more than Rs 3,300 per dwelling unit, but each dweller will pay Rs 1,000 a month to the authorities.



UT’s proposal on underpass turned down
Direct access between existing domestic airport and proposed international terminal
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 29
As the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is in the process of inviting detailed notice inviting tenders (DNITs) for the construction of an international terminal at the Chandigarh airport, an ambitious proposal of the Union Territory to have a direct access between the existing domestic airport and the proposed international terminal through an underpass under the existing runway has been turned down.

Citing complexity of the matter, as it involved different central ministries, the AAI has advised the UT to find alternatives. The issue came up for discussion during a recent meeting held between officials of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), AAI and UT officials to discuss the connectivity of the domestic airport to the international terminal.

The two other proposals - a 2.7-km-long road from Sector 48 to the parking of the international terminal through Jagatpura village that falls in Punjab and another one to link the international terminal directly with the National Highway no 21 along the defence land near Chandigarh-Zirakpur border - would be taken up at the next meeting on the issue.

“The construction of an underpass beneath the runway would mean going 150 ft down and it was not technically possible. It would require clearance from the defence ministry resulting in inordinate delay in starting work on the international terminal,” pointed out sources in the AAI.

As per the planned access to the international terminal, visitors coming to Chandigarh and Zirakpur side would have take a detour of around 15 km to reach the terminal, prompting the UT and Haryana to demand a shorter and direct access.

The access planned by Punjab to reach the international terminal is through a 200 ft wide road linking the upcoming Aerocity that would ultimately join another 200 ft wide road linking Sector 82 with the Zirakpur-Patiala road at Chatt village. From the Chatt village, an 11-km-long circular road that will link the international terminal with the Panchkula-Kalka National Highway 22 after passing through Sectors 3 and 21 of Panchkula.

Haryana has reportedly given its consent to share the cost of land being acquired for the road.



Stray cattle continue to haunt Panchkula roads
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

 Stray cattle pose a risk to lives of commuters in Panchkula.
Risky Drive Stray cattle pose a risk to lives of commuters in Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, May 29
Despite tall claims of the authorities, the menace of stray cattle continued to haunt this satellite town as these could be seen on the town’s main road not only during night hours, but also at day time.

The stray cattle continued to pose a danger to commuters on the main roads, including roundabouts of Sectors 7/8, 11/15, 12/12-A, 4 and 19 and roads separating Sectors 17/18, 11/14 and 2/3. The residents fear that if immediate steps were not taken to deal with the menace some valuable lives may be lost in freak accidents.

Notably, Lalit (25) had lost his life in a freak accident involving stray cattle few years back after his bike hit a stray cattle on the road separating Sectors 7-8 in the town. One of the biggest reasons behind the problem in the town is the fact that it has 13 villages located between various sectors. These residents in the village own milch cattle, which were set free on the roads during day and night hours.

The Municipal Council has crores of rupees, but still it has failed to do anything. “Despite my continuous reminders to the authorities, so that others do not meet the same fate as Lalit, the authorities have failed to do the needful,” said SK Nayyar, president of the Citizens Welfare Association.

He further added that the problem was not limited to one sector alone. “Every sector of the town is inundated with stray animals,” he rued.

Pushpinder Kumar, a resident of Sector 15, said earlier the MC had engaged the services of a contractor to catch these stray animals, but the same has been discontinued. He said serious effort had to be made by the MC if it sincerely wanted the town to be free of this menace.

MC executive officer KK Jain said now one of the agencies had come forward with a proposal to set up a ‘gaushala’ near the town and the administration was looking for a suitable land in the town. He said a 16-acre land had been allocated in Pinjore where a combined ‘gaushala’ for Panchkula, Pinjore and Kalka would be constructed. It would cater to at least 1,000 stray cattle in the area.



Dog falls into trench, pulled out after 12 hours
Tribune News Service

A stray dog being pulled out of a trench in Industrial Area, Phase IX, Mohali, on Sunday.
Animal Plight A stray dog being pulled out of a trench in Industrial Area, Phase IX, Mohali, on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, May 29
Sheer negligence on the part of a private contractor engaged by Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to shift an electricity line is giving a lot of trouble to the residents of Industrial Area, Phase IX, here.

For the past two months, several deep trenches left behind while uprooting concrete streetlight poles have not been filed resulting in several pedestrians suffering injuries while using the pedestrian walkway.

Amardeep Sharma, a resident of the area, said the contractor didn’t bother to fill the trenches.

On Sunday, a stray dog fell into one of the trenches and was pulled out after more than 12 hours. According to GMADA officials, the poles had been uprooted for widening of the road. They promised that trenches would be filled soon.



Mobile tower fall disrupts traffic for over two hours
Tribune News Service

 A view of the mobile tower that fell on the flyover connecting the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway.
Jammed A view of the mobile tower that fell on the flyover connecting the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Zirakpur, May 29
Dust storm and rain on Sunday evening resulted in falling of a mobile tower on the flyover connecting the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway here.As the tower came crashing on the Derabassi side of the flyover, the traffic on the busy section remained stranded for over two hours.

The police and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials in a joint exercise removed the tower with the help of a crane before the traffic on this stretch was restored. According to police, a 30-feet-long tower installed on a commercial building by the road side at Zirakpur fell due to the rain and was stuck on the Zirakpur flyover, disrupting the traffic.

Due to the blockade, Zirakpur witnessed several traffic jams and the traffic on the Delhi-Chandigarh section and Patiala-Chandigarh section came to a halt.



Day after rape, police searches spot
Woman regains consciousness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
A day after a 35-year-old woman was found raped and abandoned in the forest area near Colony Number 4, the police conducted an exhaustive search in the forest to look for any clues. The woman regained consciousness in the hospital today and said she did not know what happened with her that night. Police investigations are now narrowing in on drug addicts residing in the area, who raped the woman when she came to the deserted area to attend nature’s call.

The victim was found in a semi-nude and unconscious state in the forest area adjoining the colony yesterday morning. Her medical examination has confirmed that she was raped, the police said.

The rape of the woman had sparked a protest in the colony yesterday and angry residents had surrounded the police station and raised anti-police slogans. They also blocked the road, which led to a traffic jam.

Inspector Malkit Singh, SHO, Industrial Area police station, said he went to the hospital to record the statements of the victim but she told the police that she did not remember anything at all as to what happened with her.

“She told us that she did not know what happened with her. We suspect that she was given some sedative before being raped. A search in the jungle was also conducted. It seems to be the work of some drug addicts residing in the colony itself,” he said.



Panel on Economic Census
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
For effectively monitoring and coordinating various functions of the sixth Economic Census 2012, the UT administration has constituted a state-level steering committee under the chairmanship of the Adviser to the UT Administrator, according to a press note.

The other members of the committee are the Home Secretary, the Finance Secretary, the municipal corporation Commissioner, the Special Secretary, Finance-cum-Director, Economics and Statistics, the Deputy Commissioner, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director, Government of India, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the Deputy Director-General, National Sample Survey Organisation, the Director, Public Instructions (Schools).



Memo of strictures issued to former UT Joint Secy
Not providing info under RTI Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has held a former UT Joint Secretary (Home) responsible for lapse in discharging her duties while providing information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to a former Assistant Secretary, UT State Transport Authority (STA) VK Sharma.

Passing the strictures, the CIC directed her controlling authority to issue memo of strictures to her. She was posted in the UT home department when the information was sought.

Deepak Sandhu, Central Information Commissioner, passed the orders after hearing an appeal filed by VK Sharma. The officer had allegedly denied the petitioner some information while being posted as the joint secretary (home) in the UT and appellate authority of the department under RTI.

"Under the powers of the commission under Section 20(2), it recommends the controlling authority to issue memo of stricture to her for lapse in discharging his/her duties as mandated under the RTI Act," the Commissioner said. The commission has also directed the UT home department to provide the appellant complete information.

It has issued a show-cause notice to the central public information officer (CPIO) of the UT home department as to why penalty should not be imposed on him for wrongly denying information to the appellant. The CPIO has been directed to appear before the commission on June 24 at Chandigarh for further hearing in the matter.

Sharma, the petitioner, in July 2010, had sought from UT home department information pertaining to chargesheets issued to him on October, 5, 2004, March 9, 2005 and June 31, 2007 by the UT administration.

However, the CPIO denied him the information, following which, an appeal was filed before the then appellate authority of the department, Prerna Puri, who also did not provide him the complete information. Irritated he moved the CIC. 



Agri coop members threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 29
Members of the Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society (PACS) have threatened to continue their pen-down strike if their demands are not met by May 31.Stating this here, Karanveer Sandhu, state president of the PACS, said they had a meeting with a delegation led by Ramersh Krishnan, Joint Secretary.

The Joint Secretary had assured them that their demands would be met by May 31 as the file pertaining to merging dearness allowance would be forwarded to the Finance Commissioner on May 30.

Sandhu said though they had withdrawn the protest near the PACS here, they would continue their pen-down strike till their demands were met.

He said other demands included travelling loan to former employees and Rs 2 lakh as compensation to families of employees who died during service.



Flute recital by GS Rajan today
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 29
World-renowned flute maestro Pandit GS Rajan will give a live flute recital tomorrow at 6.30 pm at the Randhawa auditorium in a special classical music concert organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademy.



‘Amar Katha’ marks end of theatre fest
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, May 29
A five-day theatre festival “Adakarian-2011” concluded at Government College, Sector 46, with the staging of a Punjabi play, “Amar Katha” here today.

The festival was organised by the North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala, in association with Adakar Manch, Mohali. The concluding play, Amar Katha had been sculpted by festival director Sahib Singh and based on three stories such as Shaheed, Din Deenvi Lutt and Bijubada, authored by eminent Punjabi writer and Sahitya Academy award winner Gulzar Singh Sandhu in different periods.

The play resolves around the journey of a character from 1947 to 1992, who is made to be known as Naurang Singh then Noora and later Naurangi Lal, who keeps facing identity crisis during his life. In the process, the play brings into sharp focus the evils responsible for changing face of society but with suggestive measures.



Open house
Admn needs to work out permanent source of energy

We read in newspapers that there is no shortage of power supply in the city this year and that there would be no rotational power cuts. From the past fortnight, we have been witnessing unscheduled power cuts at odd hours, particularly during the night.

The cuts have been frequent and I have an apprehension that the power supply was not as normal as was being projected. The administration is probably short of the power supply and thereby the unscheduled power cuts were being imposed.

I am not sure about what could be done, but the administration needs to work out a permanent source of energy. From what I read in the newspapers, the administration has to go with its begging bowl to different state governments for supply of power. Then there is a question on a limit that it will be allocated. In case, it cannot have a solution to power production, the Centre needs to interfere and make a permanent arrangement instead of a temporary arrangement every year.

— Dr Harsimrat Dhillon Chandigarh

Overloading causes unscheduled cuts

Believing that the administration had managed enough power supply for the current supply, there is no other reason except overloading on the electricity cables, which cause the unscheduled power cuts. It is not difficult to believe official version because a cursory look all around the city show that air conditioners were installed everywhere.

There is no doubt that the air conditioners had become a way of life today and it would be unjustified to deny the facility to anyone who could afford the same. At the same time, it must be made mandatory for everyone to give the exact load at their establishments to the power department.

The exercise will carry weight only incase some punitive action could be taken against offenders. Examples will have to be set for others to make quick declarations. The load declaration was important because the power supply system of the city needs a massive overhaul in wake of the increased power burden. There are many loose points where there is a power disruption. Linesmen could be the best source of information for the proposed action plan because they can prepare a list of the vulnerable points. A report needs to be prepared on an overhaul of the power supply lines.

— Er Rohit Malhotra Chandigarh

‘No response to complaints’

Many residents have installed invertors because of frequent power cuts. We have made several complaints to the electricity department complaint centre, however, to no avail. Staff on duty expresses their helplessness when we visit them at their office. They say they could do nothing except respond to emergency calls because there had been a massive increase in the load, which tripped due to extra burden. Many of the supply lines had not been changed to cater to the increased burden.

The invertors have become important for power tripping in the night. Having stayed in Chandigarh since childhood, we are uncomfortable with the unscheduled power cuts, which seem to becoming a reality today. The unscheduled power cuts are irritating and to make matters worse, no one responds to our phone call for lodging our report several times. Last night, the one who picked the phone after three missed calls earlier, said, “He was fed up of giving same answers to a flood of calls that poured in after any unscheduled cut. He said he was looking for ways a telephonic message response could be installed in similar cases.”

— Ranjodh Moudgil Sector 38, Chandigarh

Announce power cuts

Like every year, the power scenario in Mohali is no different. The power goes missing from two to four hours daily in various parts of this “Model City” of the state. The residents are forced to suffer, as mostly the timings of these power cuts fall during noon or at midnight. Every time we go to make complaints, officials say it’s tripping. Interestingly, the timings of tripping are almost same everyday. Many of the residents feel that the government should announce the power cuts timings, so that people know about them before hand to change their work schedule accordingly.

— Manmohan Lal Phase 7, Mohali

Check kundi connections

As summer starts, people turn on fans and air conditioners, heavily increasing the urban India’s consumption of power. People should cooperate with the authorities concerned by disclosing the actual load being consumed so as to enable them to replace the infrastructure such as transformers, cables and breakers.

Streetlights should be planned in such a way that there is no wastage of electricity, as at present in certain areas the streetlights remain on during daytime or even unto 6.30 am. Free electricity at the cost of taxpayers’ money being provided to slum dwellers and others should be metered. Kundi connections need to be checked.

Work culture, which has altogether been deteriorated, need to be improved, particularly by supervisory staff, as there is no check at present on transmission losses. If at all there is still shortage of power, there should be a regular cut of one hour, especially starting from the northern sectors from 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm and the people should bear with the administration. Also we need to replace tubelight with 15-watt compact fluorescent lamps; change the copper chokes in tubelights with electronic chokes, which bring power consumption down by 30 per cent; and setting computers and monitors into sleep mode can help cut energy costs by 40 per cent.

— SK Khosla Sector 40 C, Chandigarh



Chandigarh scan

A meeting of the UT Cadre Employees’ Promoter Union was held under the aegis of Bharatiya Janata Mazdoor Mahasangh here on Sunday. The meeting was inaugurated by Arun Sood, general secretary of the local unit of the BJP. Bharatiya Janata Mazdoor Mahasangh national secretary Amardeep Sawhney demanded that contract system in education and educational institutions should be withdrawn immediately and working on contract should be regularised. Meanwhile, Swarn Singh Kamboj was elected president and Rakesh Puri as general secretary of the unit. Rakesh Mittal and Amarjit Singh were elected secretary and treasurer, respectively.

Jain meets protesters

Satya Pal Jain, a former Member of Parliament, on Sunday visited the site of the protest “dharna” outside the Jama Masjid, Sector 20, being organised by the Muslim Joint Action Committee. He assured the gathering that he would take up the long pending demands of the community with the authorities concerned. He criticised the Congress government not to have worked for any of their demands during the last more than five years.

Singing auditions

As many as 126 music aspirants in the age group of 17 to 30 years participated in the second edition of the auditions conducted by Gurukul Vidyapeeth and S-4 Trust at Government College auditorium for the coveted title of Voice of Chandigarh-2011 under their “Sur wid Taal” project.

As the City Beautiful is going to be the cultural hub of the North, we intend to provide a platform to budding artistes through the Talent Hunt 2011, disclosed project CEO Rinku Kalia, winner of national Sa Re Ga Ma contest. Dr Simmi R Singh and Rinku Kalia judged the participants. Participants, Mohd Hasim, Lalit Kumar, Vishal, Puja Rawat, Himanshu, Harpreet Singh and Shriya Sapru excelled to won applause from audience.

Shooting begins

The shooting of a Hindi feature film “Akkad Bakkad Bambe” started in Chandigarh on Sunday. Written , produced and directed by Dweep Raj, the story is related to 11 orphan children, who indulge in criminal activities. The cast includes Mukesh Khanna, Rakesh Bedi, Raju Kher, Dr Ved Thapar, Soneka Gill, Vijoo Khote, Shiva, Nimai Bali, Yusuf Hussain, Laxman Chatuvedi and Chandigarh-based actor Vinod Sharma. The shooting will have a schedule of 25 days and will be shot in Shimla, Manali, Solan, Chandigarh and around.

Anti-smoking camp

The Citizen Council for Human Rights is organising an anti-smoking camp, particularly aimed at educating children at Snehalya, a home for destitute children in Maloya on June 2. The camp will be organised in a tie-up with the Tobacco Control Cell of Government Hospital, Sector 16.

Mobile lok adalat

A mobile lok adalat was held at Dadu Majra on Sunday under the aegis of UT Legal Service Authority. A total of 12 cases of the Gambling and Excise Act registered in the Sector 39 police station were amicably disposed of. The mobile lok adalat was held in an air-conditioned van equipped with an LCD where disputes were settled. It was presided over by Judicial Magistrate Gurpartap Singh.


Arshee Khosla, a resident of Chandigarh and a student of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC), Delhi, will be representing her college at the 2011 HSBC/McKinsey Case Competition at Hong Kong to be held on June 1 and 2. The competition is organised by the University of Hong Kong’s Asia Case Research Centre (ACRC) and involves analysing and presenting business case strategies.

Summer camp

The Rajasthan Parishad, a music school imparting training and education in Indian classical music, vocal and instrumental music, classical and fold dances, painting, martial arts and yoga, is organising a summer camp, which began on Sunday till June 11. The second camp will start from June 12 onwards. Children above the age of five can participate. — TNS

World No Tobacco Day

To celebrate the World No Tobacco Day, Generation Saviour Association, an NGO, organised a function at the Municipal Council Bhavan, Sector 68, Mohali. Chairman, District Planning Board, Mohali, NK Sharma; Deputy Commissioner-cum-Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Varun Roojam; Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Parveen Kumar Thind; a former president, Municipal Council, Kulwant Singh and Commandant 3rd Commando Battalion, Inderjeet Singh Randhawa, were present on the occasion.

A cultural programme was presented by the students to celebrate the occasion. Amteshwar Kaur, president of the association, released the annual souvenier of the association and distributed prizes to winners of various competitions held during the year. An exhibition of the paintings by the students with anti-tobacco theme was also held on the occasion. — TNS



Free education till PG for 16 slum kids
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
Jyoti, a student of Class XII, had never imagined that her dream to get enrolled in a hotel management course would suddenly become so effortless.Jyoti, along with 15 other students hailing from city slums, who are also exceptional theatre artistes, were offered free education till postgraduation at a programme hosted at Government High School, Sector 24, today.

Adding wings to the aspirations of these students, the society running the Universal Group of Institutions (UGI) in Lalru, Punjab, today not only resolved to provide free higher education to these students, but would also arrange free books for them.

These students, who have been adopted by an NGO, Theatre Age run by Zulfikar Khan, also staged dance and drama performances. “Out of these students, 11 have opted non-medical stream in Class XI and five have taken up medical. All these students are actually great performers on stage. If higher education institutes come forward to take care of their education, it will encourage many more children and institutions,” said Khan.

Speaking on the need for educational institutes to come forward and contribute to society by providing free education, Dr Gupreet Singh, chairman of UGI, today said, “There is a myth among students from economically weaker sections, who are academically bright that they cannot afford engineering or management courses. Even if we provide free education to a few such students, it does not make much difference to us but for these children it is a life-transforming thing. From the platform of the college, these students can then also get jobs to earn a living.”

The students were also provided free school bags by UGI.

Anthem for NGO

To encourage slum children adopted by Theatre Age, Ajay Jhingran, brand ambassador of the NGO and also a noted Bollywood lyricist and singer, composed an anthem for the NGO today.

Jhingran, an alumnus of Panjab University, Chandigarh, has contributed lyrics for several movies, including Yeh Saali Zindagi, Khoya Khoya Chand, Billo Barber, Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge, etc.

“I feel that we must contribute to society rather than just earning money. We are now planning a charity show to raise funds for these talented children who hail from economically weaker sections and cannot afford schooling,” said Jhingran.



PU depts to get Rs 20-cr grant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 29
The department of nano-technology and Centre for Women Studies, Panjab University, would be designated as centres of potential excellence. The two departments would also receive a grant of Rs 20 crore from the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the proposals sent by them to the UGC.

Twelve universities had sent their proposals, totalling 64 entries, out of which the UGC had eventually selected 16.

An additional Rs 5 crore each will be given, as the university has NAAC accreditation.



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