C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


laxity of municipal officials bared
Absenteeism ruled April-3 Open Marathon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
In yet another act of blatant mismanagement, an internal report prepared by the municipal corporation (MC) has revealed that a majority of officials in the civic body had failed to turn up for their assigned duties during the Open Marathon organised by it on April 3.

Not only did the absence of the officials spoil the spirit of the event, but people’s representatives who had been rallying behind the officials to make the occasion a success were also left embarrassed.

On more than one occasion, elected and nominated councillors had complained about the indifferent approach of MC officials. In this case, ironically, only eight of the 35 councillors (26 elected and nine nominated) attended the marathon.

In a most recent event, the minutes of the MC’s art, culture and sports committee, which had organised the marathon, revealed that the officials had literally left no stone unturned to spoil the Open Marathon, organised at the city’s Sports Complex in Sector 7.

The officials who were assigned specific duties like handing over bouquets to dignitaries, erecting the dias and distributing T-shirts did not turn up on time, leaving members of the committee red-faced.

The issue figured in discussions during a recent meeting of the committee, chaired by nominated councillor and 1971 war hero Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri.

The committee members pointed out that when the participants, including some prominent personalities of the city, turned up at the venue, there was simply nothing in the name of arrangements. A majority of participants could not get T-shirts as the official in control of the item failed to turn up on time.

Similarly, organisers faced considerable embarrassment while welcoming the chief guest, who ironically was Sunil Bhatia, the MC Additional Commissioner.

Both he and other dignitaries were left red-faced as the official responsible for arranging bouquets was not present.

The committee chairman demanded that responsibility for this lackadaisical attitude be fixed.

Earlier faux pas

In January, a team of the Ranchi Municipal Corporation, on a visit to the city, were handed over mementos which mentioned the name of Anu Chatrath, the previous Mayor, instead of present Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh, alias Palli. On realising the faux pas, Palli complained to the then MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria about the negligent act of the officials who had arranged for the mementos.



Interviews for PU institutes
Duds in geography, current affairs; masters in Bollywood, sports
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Figure this: What is the difference between a cheque and a draft? What is India’s national song and national anthem? Who is the chairperson of the UPA? In what turned out to be a rather amusing session for a seven-member panel of interviewers at Panjab University (PU), several applicants who had topped the entrance exam for admission to the University Institute of Applied Management Studies (UIAMS) and the University Business School (UBS) found themselves unable to answer these basic questions.

In some cases, answers to these questions bordered on the hilarious. Interestingly, all candidates had cleared the highly competitive all-India online Common Aptitude Test (CAT) and the university’s Management Entrance Test (MET).

While the applicants’ knowledge about general Indian history was poor overall, the knowledge of almost every candidate about Bollywood and sports was mostly on the dot. They appeared the least informed on the basics of geography.

“When we asked them who was the UPA chairperson, one applicant replied ‘Sushma Swaraj’. But what was even more disconcerting was that 90 per cent of applicants for the MBA degree did not know the difference between a cheque and a draft. Even those with a commerce background were unaware,” said a professor who was on the interview panel.

A majority of applicants failed to answer questions related to the number of woman chief ministers in the country or to name of the most recently appointed woman chief minister.

This panel of interviewers at both the UIAMS and the UBS comprised a psychologist and a specialist each from engineering, medicine and general studies, along with a specialist from the subject of the student’s choice.

“Although there is a need to revise the criteria of selection of candidates through competitive exams, we have received a greater response for the 178 seats in the UIAMS this year.

The bottom rank holder had an all-India rank of 470 for admission to the UIAMS in 2010. However, this year it was even higher at 221 in the MET,” said UIAMS director Sanjeev Sharma.



Pregnant woman’s body found
‘Stoned’ to death
Tribune News Service

Police officials inspect the spot where a woman’s body was found in the forest area near Colony No. 4 in Chandigarh on Saturday
Police officials inspect the spot where a woman’s body was found in the forest area near Colony No. 4 in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, July 2
The body of a 28-year-old pregnant woman resident of Colony No. 4, who went missing around 12 noon yesterday, was found here this morning. A large blood-stained stone found near her body indicated that she might have been killed with stones, like the security guard who was stoned to death at Mohali in the wee hours yesterday.

Reshma Devi’s naked body was lying in the forest area located beside the colony. A resident of the colony, who went to defecate in the area this morning, noticed the body around 8:30 am and informed the police about it. Deep cuts and severe injuries were visible on the head of the deceased and the police also recovered a blood-stained heavy stone nearby. The clothes and the ‘mangalsutra’ of the victim were also found lying a few yards from the body.

On being asked whether or not the victim was raped, the police said, prima facie, it did not seem so. “It will be confirmed only after the post-mortem report,” said inspector Malkit Singh, SHO of the Industrial Area police station.

Some residents of B-block of the colony, where Reshma lived with her husband Rudaal, said they had last seen Reshma yesterday afternoon. Rudaal, a worker at a factory in Mohali, is said to have been away to work during that time.

Rudaal reportedly returned around 10 pm past night. On finding his wife missing, he started searching for her with the help of some neighbours. Strangely, he did not inform the police, which in turn, evoked police suspicion.

The police said they learnt about it only after a passerby discovered her body lying in the forest area. The police registered a murder case. The post-mortem examination would be conducted tomorrow.



Woman’s murder sparks protest by residents
Gherao police station, block traffic
Tribune News Service

Residents of Colony No. 4 stop a police vehicle at Phase I, Industrial Area, Chandigarh, on Saturday
Residents of Colony No. 4 stop a police vehicle at Phase I, Industrial Area, Chandigarh, on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, July 2
The discovery of the body of four-months pregnant Reshma Devi from the forest area near Colony No. 4 sparked an agitation by residents of the area, who disrupted traffic, causing inconvenience to commuters for two hours today.

Around 200 residents of the colony gathered immediately after getting the news and gheraoed (surrounded) the Industrial Area police station. Thereafter, they reached the powerhouse chowk near Centra Mall in Industrial Area and blocked traffic for about two hours, until 12 noon.

Raising slogans against the alleged inaction of the Chandigarh Police and the local administration, they burnt effigies of both these institutions to mark their protest against the alleged growing incidence of crime in the area. The police reached the spot in a large number, along with anti-riot vehicles, to avoid the outbreak of any untoward incident.

The residents demanded the setting up of a police beat box in the forest area as most incidents of crime, they alleged, had been occurring there.

“This is our long-pending demand. We also want the police to intensify patrolling in the forest area, but the authorities are not paying heed to it,” said Shashi Shankar Tiwari, a resident of the colony and chairman of Chandigarh Territorial Congress colony cell.

He also claimed that this was the sixth such incident. “The police is doing nothing despite the fact that criminals are roaming freely in our area. This year, Reshma is the sixth victim of the miscreants,” he said.

Echoing similar sentiments, another resident, Bimal Kishore, said today’s incident showed that women were not safe here. “You cannot pass through the forest area even in the day,” he stated.

“Most of the residents use the forest area as a shortcut that leads to the local railway station and towards the Panchkula side. Since it is a crime-prone area, the police should set up a beat box there,” he said. The police, however, said they were too short-staffed to meet the demands.

Past tense

  • On May 28, a 35-year-old woman of the colony was abandoned after being gangraped by four drug addicts in the forest area. While the police claimed to have arrested three of the accused, Sunny Kumar (22), Vinay Kumar (18) and Jatinder Kumar (19), the fourth accused, named Lala, was still at large. All the accused were residents of the same colony and worked as labourers. The incident occurred when the victim went to the area to answer nature’s call around 10 pm. She was found in an unconscious state the following morning.
  • On May 24, four intruders barged into the house of a woman in the colony and brutally raped her on finding her alone. The victim was still in coma at a hospital.
  • While residents of the colony said there had been five incidents of rape in the area in the past few months, the police refuted the allegation, claiming there had been only two such cases.


Despite guard’s murder, MC to go ahead with security gate system
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 2
The Municipal Corporation announced today that it would press ahead with the new security gate system despite yesterday’s murder of a guard even as residents alleged that the authorities had failed to give wide publicity to the security plan before enforcing it in the town.

The assistant commissioner of the civic body, Parveen Kumar Thind, said a meeting was held yesterday after the guard’s death and it was decided to continue with the recently introduced security gate system besides employing a guard in Phase III B 2 in place of the deceased.

He said the police had also been asked to assist the guards on duty at the security gates. For the time being, only the registration numbers of the vehicles leaving and entering the area after the specified time would be recorded in the registers maintained at the gates without the drivers being asked to prove their identity.

Thind further said resistance from residents to the functioning of the security gate system had been reported from certain places; but he emphasised that one needed to remember that the gates had been installed only on the request of the residents themselves.

Kuljit Singh Bedi, former municipal councillor from Phase III B 2, the area in which the guard was murdered, alleged that the corporation had failed to adopt a proper system. The new security gate plan, he claimed, had not been given adequate publicity. Many residents were aware neither of the closing time of the gates nor which gate in a particular phase was to be shut on which days.

Bedi said that though the corporation had claimed earlier that duplicate keys of the gates would be given to a representative of a welfare association or some prominent person of the area in question, the keys for the gates in Phase III 2 were neither with him nor with the president of the residents’ welfare body. Taking such decisions behind closed doors would not help anyone, he added.

Former member of the now dissolved Municipal Council, RP Sharma said the system would not succeed till a secure environment was provided even to the guards on duty. A large number of influential families lived in the town, most of whose members tended to take offence at being questioned by a security guard. Sharma regretted that residents raised a hue and cry when thefts took place but did not want to take responsibility to ensure that such crimes were checked. Instead of cooperating with the guards on duty at the gates, many misbehaved with them.

Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, said the installation of the security gates and the employing of guards had been done by the civic body. The police had offered to provide help in running the system in whichever way it could.



increase in instalment money
Residents of Azad Colony end hunger strike
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 2
The allottees of the Ashiana flats today suspended the indefinite hunger strike after Union minister of Housing and Uurban Poverty Alleviation and Culture Kumari Selja assured them that the matter would be taken up with the Haryana government.

Irked over the increase in the monthly instalment for the recently allotted Ashiana flats the residents of Azad Colony near Sector 21 had started a hunger strike near the deputy commissioner’s office since last evening demanding the lowering of monthly instalments.

Briefing the minister, Vijay Brar, Ex vice-president of the SC cell of the Congress said that earlier the monthly instalment had been fixed at Rs 703 per month and added that increase in the monthly instalments of Rs 1,803 was too high which poor people like them could not afford to pay. He urged the minister to take up the matter with the state government for reducing the amount of monthly instalments of the flats, which were constructed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission scheme for the rehabilitation of slum dwellers in the town.

After listening to the grievances of the slum dwellers Selja assued the protesters that she would soon take up the matter with the state government to resolve the issue.



Mohali DC urged to expedite developmental works
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, July 2
To expedite the developmental works of the Zirakpur town, a delegation of the Senior Citizens Forum, Zirakpur, met the Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam. Giving information, General Secretary GS Bhogal said a delegation, led by president of the forum, NR Lakhesh raised the issues regarding development of the town.

The members of the forum appealed to the DC to provide an appropriate place for construction of a senior citizens community centre, commissioning of the Dhakoli hospital and a primary health centre at Lohgarh or Bishanpura.

“The Zirakpur Municipal Council has failed to provide basic public convenience in the markets due to which the passengers and visitors, including women, face many problems. There is no provision of drinking water for general public,” said Bhogal.

“The delegation had approached the Municipal Council many a times regarding the encroachments on pavements in the markets, but nothing has been done so far,” he added.



PGI’s Choose Healthy Organ campaign on Facebook
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Taking its Choose Healthy Organ campaign a step further against smoking, alcohol abuse and riding two-wheelers without helmet, the anatomy department of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGI) has gone on Facebook to mobilise people to join hands for the cause.

This will be followed by an exhibition of organs of victims of lung cancer caused by smoking, heavy drinkers succumbing to cirrhosis of the liver and helmet-less motorcycle and scooter riders killed due to head injuries.

“We will invite 500 students from schools of the tricity to visit the exhibition to be held on July 22 and 23 to commemorate Dr IJ Diwan, who had set up the anatomy department at the PGI,” said Dr Daisy Sahni, head of the department.

“The government has been spending a lot of money in tackling these problems and it will be a bit on our part to help prevent these problems,” she said.

And choosing schoolchildren was part of the strategy, she quipped.

The adolescents were prone to peer pressure and other circumstances that often led them to smoking and consuming liquor, she said.

They even rode two-wheelers without helmet to get thrill or flaunt it among peers. And by targeting them at this stage of life to get them aware about the ill-effects will help save the future of the nation, Dr Sahni said.

While visiting the display of organs of people, who had died of such habits, the youngsters would be able to correlate with the advice given to them quite often at schools, homes or other platforms, she added.



Rape accused clears nursing test

Chandigarh, July 2
The authorities at the renowned National Institute of Nursing Education (NINE) at the PGI are in a quandary these days over one of their new students. For, the student who has cleared the admission test for MSc (nursing) recently is said to be a rape accused and has been lodged in Burail jail. Interestingly, the nursing institute has a majority of female students.

The accused, Kailash Chander, (BSc nursing), of Rajasthan had taken the test on Tuesday and was subsequently declared successful. In all, 30 seats were on offer for the course, which drew 300 candidates applicants.

Kailash has told the college authorities that he is innocent and will be acquitted soon. The college authorities have, however, granted him provisional admission. — TNS



Ultrasound machine sealed in Sec 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
A team of health officials of the UT administration sealed an ultrasound machine at Echocardiography Centre, Sector 8, here yesterday. The inspection team found that the provisions of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act were not complied with.

The team carried out a search of the premises, sealed the ultrasound machine and seized certain documents. Besides, a show-cause notice to six ultrasound centres were also issued.



tricity scan

chandigarh SCAN

‘Implement Lokpal Bill’

A protest march was held by members of “Aawaaz” at Sector 17 in Chandigarh, demanding the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill and the recovery of black money from abroad. Supporting Anna Hazare, Baba Ramdev, Varun Giri and Suresh Bhandari, the activists said they were spreading awareness among people to join their hands against injustice through this march.

Seminar on oral hygiene

On the beginning of new Rotary year, a team led by president KK Walia from Rotary Club, Chandigarh, organised a seminar on oral hygiene by senior dental doctor RP Gupta at Govt High School, Sector 21, on Saturday. Students were distributed toothbrushes and dental cream tubes. The programme was followed by herbal tree plantation drive at the herbal garden of the school. Principal Jasper Kaur planted ashwagandha sapling followed by president KK Walia, secretary Rtn Rajesh Bindra and other senior Rotarians planting various herbal saplings on the occasion.

Power shutdown

The power supply will remain suspended on Sunday from Plot numbers 182/1 to 182/82, Industrial Area, Phase I, from 9 am to 5 pm.

Free education scheme

The department of social welfare, Chandigarh Administration, through its free education scheme is giving a boost to various efforts being made by the education department in spreading literacy and availing education to every segment of society. Under this scheme, the department has provisionally earmarked Rs 20 lakh for education. Applications are being invited from students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and OBC for reimbursement of tuition fee up to Rs 30,000. Students, who have sought admission in courses such as MBBS, BDS, BVSc, BAMS, DHMS, BE, BArch, Bachelor of Fine Arts, BPharmacy, BSc (nursing), degree/diploma in hotel management, degree/diploma in laboratory technology, BEd, MEd, LLB, LLM, MBA, MCA and have passed Class XII or qualifying examination from any college or school in the UT, Chandigarh, in first attempt with a minimum of 50 per cent marks and have been studying in the UT for the last two years can apply. The parents of the students should be bonafide residents of Chandigarh for the last three years and the total annual family income should not exceed Rs 2,50,000. Application forms are available free of cost at the department of social welfare, Town Hall Extension Building, Sector 17-C, Chandigarh. The form completed in all respects should reach the director, social welfare, by August 15.

Rally against rise in prices

Members of the Chandigarh unit of medical representatives affiliated to the Federation of Medical and Sales Representative Association of India (FMRAI) held a rally and demonstration against the hike in prices of petroleum products, especially petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene oil. The members of the union assembled at the Cheema Bhawan held a meeting before taking out a rally from the bhawan to Sector 17, covering Sectors 20, 21 and 22 to reach Sector 17. The speakers demanded the roll back of the prices of petrol, diesel, LPG and kerosene oil by restructuring the taxation system to bring down the food inflation.

School wins laurels

Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 32, Chandigarh, has won the prestigious all-India competition on innovative practices and experiments in education for schools and teacher education institutions for 2010 organised by the National Council of Education Research and Training, New Delhi. The school team comprising of three members, Darshanjit Singh, principal; Arun Kumar Sharma, project coordinator (lecturer in history) and Shakha Rani, a member, which successfully conducted an innovative study or project on “Open-ended approach for learning history at senior secondary level.” The school was selected for the prestigious NCERT National Award of Rs 20,000.

217 donate blood

As many as 217 persons donated blood at a blood donation camp organised by the Thalassaemic Children Welfare Association (TCWA), Chandigarh, at the PGI on Saturday. A team of doctors and technicians headed by Dr Neelam Marwaha, head, department of blood transfusion, and also a member of medical advisory board of the association supervised the camp. The camp was inaugurated by Vinita Shourie, assistant general manager, SBI, MI branch, PGIMER, at 10.30 am. She praised the efforts of TCWA in saving lives of serious patients, especially during summers when there is an acute shortage of blood.


Allotment of 853 flats

A delegation of members of CWA met Kumari Selja, minister of culture and urban housing, and HUDA Administrator, on Saturday about the allotment of 853 flats allotted to them recently. The work of procession to 853 houses is under active consideration with HUDA authority, which needs quick action to hand over the procession to them on priority basis, so as to vacate the procession of old jhuggies on encroached land immediately, as the existing land has already been kept by HUDA, earmarked for important projects in the area, out of which some portion specifically has been earmarked to connect the direct road for Ghaggar bridge towards the National Highway No. 73.


Arrangements reviewed

A meeting was called by Love Kumar Goldi, MLA, Garhshankar, and coordinator of Mohali district, in the office of District Congress Committee, Phase I, Mohali, to review the arrangements for the visit of Capt Amarinder Singh, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, here on July 6. Capt Amarinder Singh is visiting Mohali to listen to the problems of Congress workers of Mohali district. The meeting was attended by Balbir Singh Sidhu, MLA Mohali; Jagmohan Singh Kang, former minister; Depinder Singh Dhillon, advocate and in charge of Dera Bassi area; Rajinder Singh Rana, president, District Congress Committee, Mohali; and Ravneet Singh Bittu, MP.

MBA modules

The SAS Group of Institutions (SASGOI) has started special modules for students of MBA from the upcoming session 2011-12. These modules would include capsule programmes in pharmaceutical industry, retail, banking and capital markets. These courses would act as value courses in addition to the regular curriculum for MBA students of SASGOI. Since students from various backgrounds such as pharmacy, commerce, marketing, engineering, humanities and many other backgrounds join MBA course, these courses would give a practical know-how of the industry. — TNS



Confusion prevails over self-attested admission forms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Collection of self-attested admission forms by student organisations at help desks set up by them at Panjab University today led to confusion among certain department employees and student leaders.

Instead of directing students to the departments, certain student organisations were collecting the forms from parents and students at the help desks only.

An all-party meeting was also called by certain student leaders and later the dean student welfare was called to resolve the matter.

While supporters of certain student parties alleged that office staff at the department of laws, PU, had refused to accept admission forms of candidates, who were not present physically. On the contrary, department officials said certain student organisations were putting a stamp “secretary marketing committee” on the students’ photos and were getting these forms to the departments.

Student leaders, on the other hand, continued to express their resentment throughout the day. “We called an all-party meeting, attended by members of HSA, NSUI, SOPU, PUSU, INSO and SOI, where we discussed the issue of submitting forms to the departments. On several occasions, we deposit students’ forms in the departments, while the parents and students conveniently fill them up at the help desks,” said Buland from Student Organisation of India (SOI).

Clarifying their stand, the department officials said the system was made flexible for students.

“I have given special instructions to the office that nobody should be harassed. There were certain cases where students had got forms with unidentified stamps posted on the students’ pictures. Yet we issued instructions to follow a student-friendly system and anyways admissions are yet to be conducted. We are totally accepting the self-attested forms,” said department of laws chairperson Nishta Jaswal.



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