C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


15 girls, not 4, were molested by music teacher: report
 ‘There was clear proof that SB Thapa had been misbehaving with girls of class V’

Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 10
Though the Panchkula court has framed molestation charges against a music teacher of Army Public School in Chandimandir for molesting four girls, in the internal investigation report, conducted by the school authorities, it was found that there were not four but 15 girls of class V who were molested by the teacher.

The investigation report had found that the music teacher SB Thapa was misbehaving with the girl students of class V.

The report, which was accessed by Chandigarh Tribune, reads, “Fifteen girl students of class V narrated that SB Thapa had not just kissed them but made more bolder physical overtures. They all narrated that Thapa used to take them alone inside the inner rooms of the class where harmonium and other music instruments were kept and closed the doors before touching them inappropriately.”

The report further reads, “There were clear and undoubtful evidences that Thapa had been misbehaving with the girl students of class V.”

Regarding Thapa’s defence, the inquiry officer pointed out that in the report, “On December 2, 2010, I (Inquiry officer) first spoke to Thapa. He accepted that through love and affection he used to kiss and hug the students, as they were of the age of his grand-children. However, he had no bad feelings behind the same.”

The final part of the report further reads, “I (inquiry officer) requested the head mistress to call some of the parents of the students who had informed us that Thapa had misbehaved with them the next day and if they wished to report the case, they should give their statement in writing.”

The case

On November 30, 2010, the mother of one of victims reported the molestation matter to the school principal. Thereafter, three more parents complained against the music teacher. Following a complaint by school principal Lt Col NR Baberwal (retd), a case of molestation was registered against SB Thapa at the Chandimandir police station. The accused had fled when the police raided his house in Sector 25, Panchkula. However, on December 6, 2010, the accused surrendered before a Panchkula court. He was later released after furnishing bail.

About the school

Army Public School in Chandimandir is a prestigious school of the region. The school started as Kharga Nursery School in 1974 to meet the educational requirements of children of Chandimandir cantonment residents. Rechristened as Army School in 1983, the school was brought under the aegis of the Army Welfare Education Society (AWES), New Delhi, and was recognised by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi, in the same year.



Rashly driven car snuffs out two lives
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 10
A rashly driven car killed two youths near Dera Bassi this evening.As per information, the two youths, who were employed in Cristal factory at Gholumajra, were on a footpath when they were hit by a Santro car coming from the Ambala side.

The deceased were identified as Vikas, son of Lal Bihari of Uttar Pradesh, and Rahul, son of Lakhan of Madhya Pradesh.

The youths were on duty in the factory and had gone out for some work after getting leave from the company.

The police has arrested the car driver Gurpreet Singh, son of Manjeet Singh, a resident of Barwala district in Panchkula.

A case was registered against him at the Lalru police station.

The police said the accident occurred due to the high speed of the car, which suddenly went out of control and hit the youths.

After hitting the youths, the car moved towards the opposite side, crossing the road divider.

The bodies were sent for postmortem in Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi.



Fate of 40 city-bound passengers not known
Kalka Mail Tragedy in Uttar Pradesh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The fate of the 40 Chandigarh-bound passengers on the ill-fated Kalka Mail, which derailed in Fatehpur district, Uttar Pradesh, this morning, killing 35 people, remained unknown till late this evening.

Officials at the local railway station, where a helpline and an enquiry counter had been set up for the families of the passengers, were keeping their fingers crossed, as only one enquiry was made throughout the day. Till the filing of this report at 10 pm, the railway officials here had received a list of seven dead, but none of them was from the city.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Station Superintendent, Praveen Kumar, said as per the passenger list, 40 people were bound for Chandigarh and 58 for Kalka. Of these 43 were in the AC coach and 55 in the sleeper class.

Kumar said they had received only one inquiry pertaining to Charanjit, who was travelling to the city in Coach S-2, Seat 64. A relative of Charanjit had come to the station in the evening, but had left without leaving any details.

The register where the inquiries were being recorded had no details of either Charanjit or the relatives who came to inquire about him. Five personnel have been deputed for the enquiry counter. Sources revealed that the station staff here had no details, except their total number, of the city-bound passengers. “The tickets had been booked either at Durgapur and Howrah and we don’t have any details about it”, said an official.

Seven of the 35 dead passengers had been identified as Kallo Devi (Meerpur, Kanpur), Javed Alam (Mirzapur), Rajesh Singh, a pantry car staff, MA Kalekar, Anjaan, Monica (Kolkata) and Anup Kumar (Allahabad).

Meanwhile, a “Zakhmi Special train” will arrive between 10 to 11 am tomorrow here from Fatehabad.



Police clears 4,000 complaints in a jiffy
Hasty redress of cases pending since 2006 raises eyebrows
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Waking up from its slumber after five years, the UT police claims to have cleared over 4,000 complaints which had been pending with it since 2006 in just five months.

In an exercise launched in February to clear the backlog of complaints that had been piling up at the public window at the police headquarters, the police is now left with around 700 complaints, all of which were lodged this year.

Interestingly, the police has addressed the 3,300 odd ‘solved’ complaints by effecting ‘mutual settlements’ and have registered cases with respect to only 55 complaints.

A recent report prepared by the community relations unit (CRU) of the Chandigarh police reveals that there were 4,461 complaints pending at the public window in February this year. The break up of pending complaints comprised 158 filed in 2006; 345 in 2007; 522 in 2008; 726 in 2009 and, interestingly, a remarkable high of 2110 in 2010 and another 600 complaints of 2011.

Most complaints related to cheating, disputes, brawls, rape cases and thefts and were pending at all the 11 police stations as well as the specialised units of the Chandigarh police such as the Crime Branch, Operations Cell and the Women and Child Support Unit.

As the police opened up old files, only 55 of the over 4,000 complaints were found worthy of registration of cases. No case was registered on the basis of complaints pending in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Only four cases were registered out of the 726 complaints filed and pending since 2009. The bulk of the cases registered were based on complaints filed and pending in 2010 and 2011. While 26 cases were registered based on the 2110 pending complaints since 2010, another 25 cases were registered from complaints at the public window filed this year. A majority these cases registered related to cheating and fraud.

“We initiated the exercise in February to clear old backlog and the effort has yielded results. The practice will continue in the future and no complaint will be kept pending for long,” said UT SSP Naunihal Singh.

Unanswered questions

l Why were complaints untouched all these years, especially those pending since 2006, 2007 and 2008

l The figure of 4,461 pending complaints since 2006 reflects poorly on the repeated tall claims of the police about speedily redressing complaints.

l Four cases registered this year cater to complaints filed in 2009. Who is responsible for the delay and the harassment caused to the complainants who waited for two years to get their complaints examined and cases registered



Haryana Govt dwarfs big achievement
Fails to provide job to Everester Sunita Chokan
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service
Sunita Singh Chokan
Sunita Singh Chokan

Panchkula, July 10
Everester Sunita Singh Chokan might have scaled the highest peak in the world, but she is dejected due to the apathy of the state government, which has failed to notice her achievement and provide her with a job.

Sunita, one of the five climbers from Haryana to scale the Mount Everest on May 20 last, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune here today, said that for the past two months, no job had been offered to her and only assurances had come her way during this period.

“While on the one hand, the state government was giving lakhs of rupees as cash awards besides jobs to outstanding sportsperson under the Employment Guarantee Policy, on the other, it had failed to even recognise her achievements,” rued Sunita.

The Gujjar Kalyan Parishad Panchkula and Chandigarh, meanwhile, had organised a function at Gujjar Bhawan in Sector 10 to honour Sunita for her achievement and presented a cheque of Rs 2 lakh each to her.

Chokan said that she belonged to a poor family. Her father was serving in the Border Security Force on a junior post. She said it was her cherished dream to scale the Everest and for this, she had borrowed more than Rs 15 lakh from her relatives, as her father, who has to support a family of six members, was not in a position to spend such a huge amount.

The Everester said after registering her name with the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, she deposited Rs 20 lakh with Asian Tracking in Nepal, which provides the infrastructure for her to scale the peak. She had also arranged money for her basic, advanced mountaineering courses at Manali and Darjeeling, respectively.

She has done BSc in physical sciences from Khalsa College Yamunanagar and had done her schooling earlier from Amritsar as her father was posted there.

Earlier, lauding the achievements of mountaineer Mahendar Pratap Singh Haryana Food and Supplies Minister said this brave girl was the first to reach the highest peak of the world in her contingent. He also announced to give an award of Rs 51,000 to Sunita. Local MLA DK Bansal gave her a cash prize of Rs 21,000.



5 booked for making fake VAT forms
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 10
The Rajpura police have booked five persons, including a woman and an employee of the excise department, for preparing fake VAT (value added tax) forms, to be filled at various entry barriers while importing or exporting material.

Rajpura Sadar police station in charge Krishan Kumar Panthe said the case was registered on the complaint of mobile wing ETO Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal.

The complainant said an employee of the department, Lal Chand, deployed at a barrier in Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda, had sold the forms for Rs 28,000 to some truckers, who had prepared more fake papers.

The truckers were using fake papers with fake stamps to get clearance at entry barriers, including the one at Shambhu.

Besides Lal Chand, the police have booked Paramjit and his sister Kinder,residents of Sirhind, Talwinder Singh and Balram, residents of Khanna. Police officials said the excise department had laid a ‘naka’ near Naugaja Peer on the Sirhind road, where they intercepted a truck having fake papers. During investigation, it was found that they used fake papers and stamps in connivance with an employee of the department.

The truck, loaded with scrap and coming from Ambala, was seized, but no arrests had been made so far. A case under Sections 420, 465, 466, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered.


City still ‘El Dorado’ for Haryana babus
Two IAS officers eye post of Home Secretary again
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
While the middle-rung officers of the Haryana Civil Services (HCS) may be wary of joining the UT administration, in the backdrop of alleged involvement of two senior officers of the Haryana cadre in the alleged irregularities in the allotment of land to major companies for the setting up of mega projects, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana continues to be an “El Dorado” for aspirants for the prestigious post of the UT Home Secretary.

The two aspirants for Home Secretary’s post — RR Jowel and Anil Kumar — both belonging to the 1986-batch of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), have “lobbied” again for the top post.

The name of the two officers, along with 1988-batch IAS officer PK Das, again figures in the panel for the post of Home Secretary sent to the UT administration by the Haryana Government recently. Current incumbent Ram Niwas’s tenure ends on September 24.

In fact, Jowel and Anil Kumar were in the running for the post in 2008 when they were pipped to the post by Ram Niwas, an IAS officer of 1985 batch in 2008.

Given the clout that the Home Secretary wields in the UT administration, it is not surprising that Jowel and Anil Kumar are having another go at the senior position. The post of Home Secretary is the pivot around which the administration functions and is the second seniormost bureaucrat in the UT administration hierarchy.

Besides being the Chief Administrator (Capital Project), the Home Secretary is the secretary of important departments, including personnel, police, revenue, tourism, labour, transport, food and supplies, cultural affairs, health, hospitality, technical education, prisons, social welfare, cooperation, agriculture, local self-government, employment housing and animal husbandry.

The Home Secretary also holds the important post of secretary, house allotment committee (upper), which processes the allotment of government accommodations to middle-rung and senior bureaucrats working with the administration and Punjab and Haryana governments.

When the mega projects, including Film City and Amusement Park, came under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the names of senior IAS officer Krishan Mohan and former UT Home Secretary and HCS officer Vivek Atray figured in the case, certain HCS officers had fought shy of joining the UT administration.

Lobbying again?

Intense lobbying is expected for the post of Home Secretary again despite the clause 18 of the All-India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, which prohibits lobbying by bureaucrats. In fact, the Central Government had rejected a panel for the post of Home Secretary in 2008 following allegations of lobbying by two bureaucrats — Jyoti Arora, a 1987-batch officer, and RK Khullar, a 1988-batch officer — who allegedly indulged in “canvassing” for the post of Home Secretary. Following its failure to retain former Home Secretary Krishna Mohan, the UT administration had recommended the name of Jyoti Arora for the post. Roshan Lal (1984) was the seniormost officer in the panel from which the name of Jyoti Arora was recommended. Ram Niwas was selected from the panel later sent by the Haryana Government.



Open house
UT should have own cadre for civil services

Chandigarh has evolved over the years from a sleepy city to a metropolitan city. The population has grown by leaps and bounds.However, the administrative structure remains dominated by officials on deputation from Haryana, Punjab and the Centre.

Why should Chandigarh not have its own cadre for the civil and police services? Don’t we have capable and qualified officials from the UT?

I feel UT officials will do a better job since they are going to be in Chandigarh, unlike officials on deputation who can get away with anything.

The only punishment for an official on deputation is repatriation.

It is high time that Chandigarh evolved its own civil and police services so as to open up avenues for youngsters and residents of Chandigarh. There is a distinct discrimination with the officials in Chandigarh since there are no promotion avenues, unlike states wherein an official can be promoted to the IAS/IPS.

Officials from the civil and police cadre of Chandigarh deserve a better deal. The officials with integrity and impeccable records of service should be inducted into the UT civil services, police services and if they are capable should be inducted into the IAS/IPS as well. For an honest and hardworking person, there is no better motivation than a well-deserved promotion. Stagnation in any form is bad for society.

Maj (retd) RS Virk Sector 8-C, Chandigarh

Important for better admn

Yes, for better management and an efficient administration, Chandigarh should have its own cadre of IAS officials. The employees will have better promotional prospects, making scope for competition and better performance. The UT Cadre Employees Union has been fighting for their justified right and need to be given their share.

Rajwinder Kaur

Officials on deputation have little accountability

I must congratulate Chandigarh Tribune for initiating a healthy debate over the need for officials on deputation in the UT under a changed scenario, which still continues to be governed by the officials on deputation from Punjab and Haryana. There is a lot of heart burning among the UT employees and officials over the issue. Stagnation is the biggest lacunae in the existing system for UT employees.

Under the changed rules, the UT has now got Deputy SPs on deputation. This is not going to be of any help because even the parent states are facing staff crunch. To my knowledge, there is no provision of 6:40 ratio for seeking officials on deputation from Punjab and Haryana, but I don’t know how the classification remains to be quoted in the official circle till date.

It is high time that the Centre looked at the changed environment and allowed an independent UT cadre, specifically for Chandigarh.

The officials on deputation have little accountability. These officers have a lavish posting and incase anything went wrong, they were repatriated to their parent cadres. I can understand the plight of the UT cadre employees and officials who are at the verge of promotion and suddenly officials on deputation occupy their promotional post. The officials on deputation must go back to their parent states and the UT should have its own cadre to serve better with accountability.

Kulbhushan Kanwar Sector 48, Chandigarh

Stagnation, root cause of frustration

It is high time for the UT Administration to create its own cadre and the top positions be held by its own officials. These officials may be selected from the senior-most officials of the UT cadre of various departments. This arrangement will give true justice to the UT cadre officials, who are serving the UT for more than five decades. Moreover, it is in the interest of the general public also, as senior UT employees understand the functioning of the administration in a better way. This arrangement will certainly give relief to several senior UT employees who are facing stagnation, which is the root cause of their frustration. So, creation of an independent cadre of UT officials like HCS and PCS is need of the hour.

In this regard, the present set up may be changed at the earliest. A list of senior most employees of UT cadre of various departments may be prepared and keeping in view their service record and the required qualifications and experience, they may be promoted to various top positions, which are currently held by Punjab and Haryana cadre officials. For example, a senior most official of some department of the UT cadre, who is working as assistant director or deputy director or joint director and has sufficient experience and fulfills required qualifications of director that official should be promoted to the post of director.

By this type of arrangement, the senior most UT cadre official will certainly perform his duties efficiently and overburdened Punjab and Haryana cadre officials will get a sigh of relief.

Dr Madan Gulati Chandigarh

‘Better understanding of problems’

It is now appropriate and justified that the Union Territory of Chandigarh gets its own cadre of officials. It will be appreciated that en-cadre officials not only keep their fingers on the pulse of the administration but also have the ability to understand the difficulties of the citizens of the city.

It is good and positive on the part of new Adviser KK Sharma to at least have such vision about creating Chandigarh cadre. This will be a gift to the citizens of this city.

Vineet Aggarwal Chandigarh

Cadre mobility is need of the hour

There is an immediate need for proper career planning, cadre mobility and identifying posts equivalent to seniority of officials in Chandigarh. Thanks to the lack of interest shown towards Chandigarh to have its own cadre, several key posts are lying vacant in Chandigarh. As a result, many officials are holding dual or even triple charges. However, according to officials, Central-level inquiries and probes marked against UT bureaucrats force people not to come to Chandigarh on deputation. At present, many such key posts are either lying vacant or are being held by officials as additional charges. The UT Administration in coming times will definitely face a tough time in getting officials on deputation to Chandigarh, as many HCS and PCS officials were unwilling to come to the city.

Chandigarh has become an extremely difficult posting. Once considered a plum posting, it is now being considered as a punishment for officials. What is the fun of being in a place like Chandigarh?

Bureaucrats prefer a Union Territory as there is lesser political interference and one can deliver better services to the people. However, in Chandigarh, things are absolutely haywire these days. With central agencies probing officials on corruption charges and nothing new being initiated, officials are scared to come to such a place.

Earlier the UT Administration was caught up in a difficult situation with HCS officials not occupying their new posts despite their recent transfers. With the recent repatriation of certain officials of the UT Administration to their parent cadres, important portfolios were transferred to the new entrants.

Blame it on the ghost of mega projects, which are under the scanner of investigating agencies, including CBI and CVC, or the unexpected exit of certain officials on deputation, the truth is that Chandigarh, which was once known as a plum posting place, has now become the officials’ nightmare. Both PCS and HCS officials are trying to avoid the UT, as their place of posting. In fact, many of the present set of officials who are on deputation are also pressing hard for their files to be taken up for repatriation. Reviewing the present scenario, there is an urgent need that the Ministry of Home Affairs should look into the matter and present Union Territory, Chandigarh, with its own separate independent cadre.

Er Sachin Sharma Chandigarh

‘Necessary for smooth governing system’

Various issues pertaining to the grievances of officials of the Union Territory, Chandigarh, had been engaging the attention of executive and elected representatives. Recently, enacting a separate cadre for Chandigarh officials has taken the centre stage.

I feel proud in expressing gratitude to the foresightedness of the Indian bureaucracy backed by sound democratic political system that Chandigarh today has been adjudged as the show window of the entire country. The city has earned due appreciation from all quarters at the national and international levels.

Although, the Union Territory of Chandigarh saw its first dawn on November 1, 1966, I feel proper thought has not been given to their genuine aspiration for being en-cadre as Chandigarh administrative services. It has rightly been pointed out at different occasions and at different forum that there is a need for such a cadre to ensure the smooth and flawless governing system in Chandigarh. It is not denied that deputationists from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana have done their best while on deputation, but a stipulated period could not give them sufficient room and space to take initiative for enhancing the growth of the city.

To tide over this situation, it is necessary to create the Chandigarh administrative services, which could look after the work of governance of this city and maintain the continuity of measures taken for the welfare of the its residents.

Ravinder Pal Singh Palli Mayor, Chandigarh



Toll-free call centre for voters soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Voters in the Union Territory, Punjab and Haryana need not to stand in long queues to redress their grievances as the UT Election Department is all set to begin a toll-free call centre.

The centre, which will start functioning from next month, will have five different phone lines - three of which would be used to hear the problems of voters while the rest would be used to give replies. The toll free number is 0172-1950.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Tilak Raj, Joint Chief Electoral Officer of the UT Election Department, said the step had been taken following the guidelines of the Election Commission of India.

“All grievances of the voters like wrong spelling of names or addresses wrongly mentioned in the voter cards would be redressed on a phone call,” said Tilak Raj, adding that after starting the centre, e-mail and SMS facilities would also be started. The centre would also cater voters in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.



Collector rates set to go up by 25 pc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The collector rates for charging stamp duty in the UT are likely to be increased by around 25 per cent shortly.The Chandigarh administration had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of UT Additional Deputy Commissioner ML Sharma for recommendations regarding revision in the existing collector rates.

The committee, whose members include Assistant Estate Officer Rahul Gupta and tehsildar DS Balouria, is said to have prepared its report.

Sources say the report, which has reportedly recommended around 25 per cent hike in the existing rates, will be submitted by next week.

If the recommendations are accepted, the new rates will come into effect from August 1, the sources add, maintaining that the proposed revision of collector rates has been necessitated by the manifold increase in the property prices. The committee led by former ADC PS Shergill had effected a 60 per cent revision in the collector rates last year. In his report, Shergill had recommended a 20 per cent hike every year. The earlier revision in 2007 had witnessed a 25 per cent hike.



Medical fraternity flays arrest of two doctors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Reacting sharply to the arrest of two doctors, the medical fraternity termed the incident a contempt of court on part of the local police and decided to raise the issue at the higher level so that the interest of medical practitioners can be protected.

The two doctors were arrested despite objections by members of the IMA, and against a Supreme Court ruling in Jacob Mathews versus State of Punjab, said Dr Ramnik Bedi, president, Indian Medical Council, Chandigarh. The arrest of these doctors amounted to contempt of Supreme Court, he said.

Yesterday, the local police had arrested Dr Ajaya Chakravarty and Dr Mohinder Kaushal under Section 304 A, IPC, after a three-year-old boy died when he was given general anaesthesia before surgery.

Dr AP Sanwaria, a councillor, also condemned the arrest, alleging the the local police seemed to have acted under pressure after a mob gathered outside the nursing home. The two innocent doctors were arrested in order to pacify the agitated people, he said. Though the police could pat its back for preventing the situation from getting out of hand, it had sullied the image of the two doctors even before an expert or court could decide on the matter,he added.

The Supreme Court ruling specifies that no criminal case can be registered against a doctor under such circumstances without an expert’s opinion, he added. The IMA and other associations of doctors will meet the authorities in this regard.



Kaushalya water for Panchkula soon
Work on pipeline begins, completion by year-end likely
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 10
To end water crisis in Panchkula, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has finally started work on laying a water pipeline from the Kaushalya Dam at Pinjore to Panchkula.

The HUDA authorities, who have already approved a budget of Rs 23 crore for laying the 10-km pipeline, claim that the work on laying the pipeline from Pinjore to Panchkula will be completed by the end of this year.

HUDA Administrator Rajender Kataria said they had given the contract of laying the pipeline to a Vadodara-based private company and had provided the Kaushalya Dam project report and other details to the firm.

He added the company had started the work and prepared designs and maps for laying the pipeline. In the coming week or two, work on the ground would be started, he added.

The life of the dam was expected to be around 100 years. It would provide 18.40 cusecs of raw drinking water to Panchkula and adjoining areas.

According to HUDA officials, they were expecting that work on the dam would start within the first quarter of 2012. A budget of Rs 25 crore for a water treatment plant at Sector 1 had been approved for the purpose.

From a project cost of Rs 51 crore in March 2008, when the Kaushalya Dam project was commissioned, estimates had touched Rs 200 crore. Changes in the original plan had pushed the cost of the project up.

The total cost of the project was estimated to be Rs 51.37 crore and the area was around 222 acres when the project was planned. The area was later increased to 257 acres and the estimated cost enhanced to Rs 118 crore.

At present, 170 tubewells were the only source of water to the town. The present requirement was 24 million gallons daily (MGD) and Panchkula was receiving 19.03 MGD from tubewells.

HUDA officials had estimated that to meet the demand of Panchkula residents for water, they needed 3.24 MGD from the Kajauli waterworks in Chandigarh and 5.40 MGD from the Kaushlya Dam.



Shoppers give tough time to commuters, traffic cops
Tribune News Service

A view of traffic chaos near the Paras Downtown Square at Zirakpur on Sunday evening.
A view of traffic chaos near the Paras Downtown Square at Zirakpur on Sunday evening. tribune photo: nitin mittal

Zirakpur, July 10
Traffic came to a standstill at most intersections of the town today, causing harassment to daily commuters.For covering a distance that generally took five minutes, at least an hour was required. Traffic cops had a tough time in managing traffic outside the Paras Downtown Square.

Past Sunday, traffic cops imposed certain restrictions on visitors. It seemed that this had failed to streamline traffic flow on the road leading to the mall.

Visitors alleged that since there was no proper parking at the mall, they were forced to park vehicles outside and most of them returned home without entering the mall.

They said the authorities should provide more parking space. A visit to the area revealed that hundreds of vehicles were stranded for more than an hour at intersections.

Visitors from Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali thronged the mall, leading to parking problems. Traffic in charge Devinder Singh said cops were deployed outside the mall to check violations.



Youth killedin accident
Tribune News Service

The mangled remains of the car that met with an accident near the Morni turn on National Highway 73 on Sunday
The mangled remains of the car that met with an accident near the Morni turn on National Highway 73 on Sunday.Tribune photo: nitin mittal

Panchkula, July 10
A 22-year-old youth, MBA student Mankaran, was killed on the spot and another seriously injured in a head-on collision between a Swift car and a canter on National Highway 73 here this evening.

They were taken to the Sector-6 General Hospital, where doctors declared Mankaran dead while Sector-6 resident Divakar was referred to the PGI in Chandigarh, where his condition was serious.

The Swift car, which was coming from the Barwala side, collided near the Morni turn with a recklessly driven canter going from the Panchkula side.

Passersby informed the police, which shifted the victims to the hospital.

The driver of the canter fled the spot, leaving his vehicle behind.

The national highway was blocked for about half an hour and traffic had to be diverted to the Sector-26 road.

The police registered a case against the canter driver and impounded the vehicle. 



HUDA working on extra parking space
Vacant spaces in rear of showrooms to be developed
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 10
Shopping is generally believed to be fun, but it is a nightmare for shoppers to park their vehicles in parking lots, which generally remain full during the daytime.HUDA will soon create extra parking space in the rear of showrooms in the town, which generally remain encroached upon by migrant labourers.

Since most restaurants, pubs and hotels do not have adequate parking provisions, areas in their vicinity remain choked, causing inconvenience to visitors.

Some markets associations have engaged the service of security agencies for proper parking in some markets, but visitors have no option but to park their vehicles on the roadside due to lack of space in parking areas.

Shoppers are often harassed as their vehicles are towed away by the traffic police for violating traffic rules. Vacant spaces in the rear of showrooms at Sectors 8, 9 and 10 will now be developed for parking.

Owners of showroom will be able to park their vehicles there so as to make way for vehicles of their customers. This will also help in keeping the area clean.

A recent meeting of officials of the civic body and HUDA was held in this regard and they decided to make the area clean and encroachment-free by turning vacant spaces into parking lots.

Some councillors, led by Sector-8 councillor Sangeeta Goel, had highlighted unhygienic conditions and encroachment in the rear of showrooms. The roads were getting damaged as there was no proper drainage system in these area.

HUDA had recently increased the parking area in front of markets by reducing the area under pavements. This had not yielded desired results as parking problems existed at the markets in Sectors 7 and 11, where the vehicles could be seen parked on the roadside.

HUDA XEN Preet Mohan said parking lots would be constructed in the rear of showrooms at Sector 8, 9 and 10 soon. He said parking areas and roads damaged in other sectors would be recarpeted.

With the construction of new parking lots, owners of shops would be able to park their vehicles there, making space for the vehicles of customers.

Haryana Pradesh Vyapar Mandal district president BB Kocchar lauded the decision of HUDA. He said it would help make areas encroachment-free, adding that it would make the area clear of the litter being spread by encroachers.



Consumer forum raps LIC for claim denial
Says can’t dub hypertension, diabetes, arthritis ‘pre-existing diseases’
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
In a significant order with far-reaching consequences, the UT Consumer Forum has ruled that lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes and arthritis cannot be dubbed “pre-existing diseases” for denial of claims by insurance companies.

The forum has also ruled that the onus to know about a policyholder’s illnesses lies on the insurance company and thus a policyholder cannot be denied a claim on the grounds of concealment of illness.

In his order, forum president PD Goel stated: “It is always on the insurer to prove the concealment of a pre-existing disease at the time of obtaining the policy. The malaise of hypertension, diabetes, occasional pain, cold, headache, arthritis and the like in the body are normal wear and tear of modern day life, which is full of tension at the place of work, in and out of the house and are controllable on day-to-day basis by standard medication and cannot be used as concealment of ‘pre-existing disease’ for repudiation of the insurance claim.”

On the basis of the ruling, the forum directed the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) to pay the life insurance claim of Rs 2 lakh to the nominee, Gurmukh Singh, who was denied the claim on the grounds that the policyholder (his father) had deliberately hidden that he was suffering from diabetes. The forum also directed the LIC to pay Rs 25,000 in compensation to the complainant along with litigation cost of Rs 10,000.

Rejecting the LIC’s claim that facts relating to the policyholder’s medical condition were not revealed to them, the forum ruled that repudiation of the claim could not be stated to be legal as the proposal for the issuance of the insurance policy was accepted by the LIC after due examination by its doctors. In this case, the LIC had not been able to establish the concealment by leading proper and cogent evidence.

In his complaint, policyholder Manmohar Lal’s son and life insurance policy nominee Gurmukh Singh stated that his father bought a policy from the LIC in October, 2006 for Rs 2 lakh, which was to mature in October, 2022. However, his father died on May 23, 2009. The complainant filed a claim with the LIC after completing the formalities. After sometime, he received a letter from the LIC to submit the leave record along with leave application and photocopy of the attendance register of the Sector-16 hospital where his father was admitted.

The complainant alleged that even after approaching the LIC a number of times, they failed to settle the claim.

In their reply, the LIC stated that during the investigation, it was revealed that deceased was suffering from diabetes mellitus for 15 years but he deliberately concealed the material facts regarding his health at the time of proposal of the policy.

Their claim was rejected by the forum and they were asked to pay the claim along with compensation and cost of litigation.



Chandigarh SCAN
Discussion on corruption

The Chetna Manch, Chandigarh, organised a convention on “Rampant corruption in the Indian society and Lok Pal Bill” at Sri Harkirshan Public High Model School, Sector 40-C, on Sunday. Manch secretary SK Khosla while welcoming delegates traced out the history of Lok Pal and said the santhanam committee of prevention of corruption (1964) had recommended the formulation of a code of conduct and establishment of an independent investigative agency.

Though several times, after this recommendation, the Lok Pal Bill was presented in the Parliament, the Bill could not see the light of the day, as the successive governments were not serious at all to pass the Bill. Even today, the UPA government is not serious enough to bring this legislation in the Parliament. He said capitalism was actually the systematic form of corruption. Bodh Singh Ghuman, divisional forest official (Punjab), who delivered a keynote address, said there were four sources of rampant corruption in India.

Concentration of money in a handful of hands is the major source of corruption. He further elaborated that there is no fear of law in the country. Law is meant only for the poor, whereas the bigwigs are freely roaming after committing heinous crimes. Further there is a big nexus of capitalists-politicians-bureaucrats, who rules the roost and is squarely responsible for this mass corruption across the country.

He advocated though there is a need of strong Lok Pal in the country, the solution to tackle corruption lies with the people’s movement. Others who spoke on the occasion included Prof HS Mehta, DS Chahal, Prof Swaranjit Mehta and SS Negi.

Fiesta new model launched

Fiesta, a new model of Ford, was launched here on Sunday.

The new design has Ford’s new kinetic design theme and could be expected in India by the end of 2011.

The new Fiesta will come with an option of power shift transmission later on. 

Fiesta comes as a sequel to the success to the earlier Figo model.

Case against UT Administrator

Advocate Arvind Thakur filed a complaint against UT Administrator Shivraj Patil before judicial magistrate Mahesh Grover. The court has deferred the hearing for September 16. Thakur alleged that when he raised a question about the booth scam at the public grievance redressal meeting, the Administrator had doubted the genuineness and integrity of the Global Human Rights Council (GHRC). Thakur is the chairperson of GHRC.

Career counselling

The National School of Media (NSM), an academy offering film, animation, visual effects and media courses, organised a career counseling session on astrology at its campus in Sector 38 on Sunday. Interestingly, an astrologer, also an expert in Tarot card reading and Reiki, held the session with the students.

Protest against fee hike

Members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on Sunday staged a dharna against the proposed fee hike by Panjab University. Sitting near gate number II, students said the university was making fool of the students saying that the increase would be mere 10 per cent of the tuition fee. In reality, the fee hike was much higher which is charged under different heads, said a student leader.

Annual function

The Mohali Senior Citizens’ Association celebrated its annual function at Shivalik Public School, Mohali. Besides a large audience, representatives of associations from various districts of Punjab attended the function. Dr AS Khehra, president of the association, recounted the achievements in the last four years, which were highly applauded.

He also highlighted the forthcoming programmes of the association, which will be focused on problems resulting from increasing life expectancy and decreasing social values. NK Sharma, chairman, District Planning Committee, Mohali, who presided over the function, congratulated all members of the association. Considering increased requirements of the association, he assured to add a few more spans to the existing building of library and allied facilities centre. 

KR Gangadharan, a member of the committee for review of national policy on older persons, 1999, constituted by GOI and member National Council of Older Persons (GOI), also spoke on the occasion. In his speech, he shared the scenario and concern for problems of elderly at the national and international level. He said the revised policy would be more pro-elderly and they were even recommending separate ministry for senior citizens at the national level and a separate department in the states.

New courses

The Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi, started new courses in MTech-IT and Mtech-EE from the session 2011-12. The institution has also been granted 16 seats in PhD from PTU. Principal, Dr GN Verma stated that the institute was located at Dera Bassi. The institute is a venture catering to offer best technical and vocational education in the fields of engineering, computer application and management.

Awareness campaign

Haryana chief parliamentary secretary Sharda Rathore said a state-wide campaign would be launched soon to generate awareness about education, as education is the key to development for any state or country.

Rathore, addressing a gathering on the occasion of 471st Maharana Pratap Jayanti organised by the Rahjput Sabha, Panchkula, here on Sunday, said each village of the state would be covered during the campaign to encourage the people to enroll their children in the schools so that no child is left out without education.

She also announced that Maharana Pratap Bhawan would be constructed in the town soon and for this she would request the Chief Minister to expedite the work of providing land to the sabha. Former MLA Satwinder Singh Rana, Rekha Rana, president of the sabha, Ram Swaroop Singh, Col Kuldeep Singh, Rattan Singh and Yashpal Rana were among those who addressed the gathering. — TNS



Uncertainty prevails over fee revision issue
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Despite being the most talked about issue among student organisations on campus in a run-up to student council poll, uncertainty prevails over the decision of fee revision in certain courses offered at Panjab University affiliated colleges.

A decision that should have ideally been taken before the commencement of the new academic session has been kept pending till the meeting of PU’s highest governing body, the Senate, which will be held in September 2011 and a Syndicate meeting prior to that.

Reacting to the protests being staged by student organisations, PU functionaries said the recommendations of the committee headed by Senator GK Chathrath would be forwarded to the Syndicate for approval first.

University officials added that the fee revision was being done to bring about uniformity in fee structure across all colleges located in Chandigarh and Punjab.

At the onset of the admission season, complaints have been pouring in from the parents about certain private colleges in Chandigarh charging fee higher than the stipulated instructions of the university.

“The purpose of fee revision is to bring uniformity in the fee structure across the board. No decision has been taken till date on the matter. The Syndicate and Senate will first discuss the issue and only after that some final decision would be taken. The reports about 10 per cent fee hike in colleges are baseless,” said PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti.

“The university has to ensure that the colleges do not charge 30-40 per cent more fee than is stipulated by it, which is being done in certain colleges presently. If BCom admission is made online, the fee collection for the course must also be done through an online process. After two years, even if there is 10 per cent hike in the course fee, it is reasonable,” said PU Senator Prabjit Singh.

Senator GK Chathrath, who is heading the committee on fee revision, dismissed all statements of student leaders on the issue of fee hike. “A final decision on fee revision would be taken by the Senate and Syndicate at the next meeting. Any hike in any course must not exceed 10 per cent. In Chandigarh, certain colleges are already charging more fee and this will come down after the revision. In BCom course, certain colleges where it is a self-financing course are charging Rs 23,000, which has been reduced to Rs 17,000. We have also proposed that fee be waived off for a certain percentage of students who are from poor families,” said Chathrath.



Sports quota: Trials to fill seats concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The trials for filling up of seats against sports quota seats at Panjab University concluded here yesterday.According to information, a total of 541 applicants applied for the seats under sports quota, however, only 342 sportspersons appeared for the trials.

“The players underwent the trials under the supervision of professional coaches.In the gradation process, we have rejected about 10 per cent applications, as some candidates were found illegible for the seats,” said CS Grewal, director sports, Panjab University.



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