C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ghirra WAS in a rush to GET mONEY
Whittled down her demand for Rs 2 lakh in bribe to half the sum
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Mohali deputy superintendent of police Raka Ghirra, who was arrested after being caught red-handed taking a bribe by the Central Bureau of Investigation, appears to have been both desperate and in a hurry when it came to demanding the money. Ghirra had initially struck a deal of Rs 2 lakh with the complainant but then soon after settled for half that amount (Rs 1 lakh) when the latter expressed his inability to come up with Rs 2 lakh.

According to sources close to the CBI, Ghirra had reportedly demanded a Rs 2 lakh bribe from the complainant, KK Malhotra, for helping the latter in quashing criminal cases already filed against him by the Punjab police as also for not getting any new cases registered against him.

A senior CBI official said the day (July 23) the cash was to be delivered at her Sector 15 home, Ghirra had waited impatiently for Malhotra to arrive until 7:47 pm. But when the latter deliberately did not turn (on the CBI’s advice), she called him up and enquired about the money, said sources.

The sources added Malhotra had informed Ghirra he had until then been able to arrange only Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 and would be able pay the “full” amount of Rs one lakh only the next morning. Thereafter, on July 24, the CBI had laid a trap at her Sector 15 residence and arrested her red handed while accepting a bribe of Rs one lakh.

More trouble for suspect

The Chandigarh police will procure production warrants for Raka Ghirra by moving an application in the district courts on Thursday. The cops will seek to interrogate her in connect with cases filed against her under the Arms and Excise Acts at the Sector-11 police station. “We’ll seek her police custody to find out why she had kept such a large number of cartridges besides a double-barreled gun and a revolver at her home,” said Sector-11 police station SHO Gurmukh Singh. Over 1,200 cartridges and a double-barreled gun were recovered from Ghirra’s Sector 15 house where the CBI had conducted a raid on July 24.

CBI’s modus operandi in laying trap

In order to verify the complaint the CBI had decided to send an independent witness along with the complainant, KK Malhotra, to Raka Ghirra’s house in Sector 15. Malhotra and the witness were introduced to each other and were explained the entire operation. The CBI had arranged for a Sony digital music player-cum-recorder and given it to Malhotra for recording the conversation. After parking the vehicle near Ghirra’s home, a CBI official had placed the recorder in Malhotra’s shirt pocket and recorded the conversation between the complainant and Ghirra. The following day, the CBI recorded the conversation after asking Malhotra to switch on the mobile phone speaker.

Ghirra in 14 days’ judicial custody

On being produced before a special CBI court in Chandigarh on Tuesday, Raka Ghirra was remanded in 14-days’ judicial custody. The CBI did not press for further police remand.

Voice recording is evidence

Legal experts say a voice recording is corroboratory evidence and has the same evidentiary value like other evidence unless it is rebutted or challenged by the opposite party that the voice in the recording is not authentic. Otherwise the defending side may request the court for a forensic report to confirm whether or not the voices are related to the defending party or has been edited or tampered.

Items recovered

  • Rs 87,50,000
  • 1.11 kg gold jewellery
  • Huge cache of arms & ammunition
  • 51 bottles of expensive liquor
  • Bank fixed deposits (amount unknown)
  • Insurance policies (value unknown)
  • Mutual funds (value unknown)
  • Keys to 4 bank lockers at SBI & PNB



At PU, urgency is dealt with haste
English dept don given charge of Population Research Centre
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
When it comes to selecting department directors or making “temporary official arrangements” at Panjab University, it is arbitrariness that seems to be the key criterion.

This seems to be the case considering that the temporary charge of the Population Research Centre has been handed over Rumina Sethi, a Professor at the Department of English and Cultural Studies, despite the fact that the specified minimum qualification for the post requires the appointee to possess at least a high second class postgraduate degree in either demography, statistics, economics, sociology, psychology or anthropology.

The post had fallen vacant following the resignation of Prof KK Bansal, Director of the Population Research Centre, which is actively involved in monitoring, evaluation and programme support research for the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Hence, it remains a riddle as to how a professor of English language and literature can contribute to this specialised centre.

The PU has defended the “appointment” to be an urgent stopgap arrangement made following Bansal’s sudden exit. What is interesting, if not intriguing, is that PU’s Vice-Chancellor Ranbir Chander Sobti had recorded on Bansal’s resignation itself that Sethi be handed temporary charge.

“If the chairperson of the Department of Laws resigns tomorrow, then can a professor of Hindi be given temporary charge because it is urgent? The university could have given that additional charge to a deputy director or to any other senior faculty of the centre until a new appointment was made. Or still, the university could have handed temporary charge to a professor who met the qualification. There are precedents where such mismatched urgent arrangements have continued for months together. Even now, people who have no professional background of the subject concerned are heading many departments,” said a senior faculty member.

While the PU in its latest teacher’s code of ethics may be preaching restriction of professional guidance to subjects in which one is qualified and trained, it has failed to put this into practice in many departments.

On similar lines

  • Prof Anil Monga of the Department of Public Administration, Evening Studies, was shifted to the Department of Police Administration
  • Dr Sween from the Department of Life Long Learning and Extension Department is coordinating fashion designing course
  • Lalit Bansal of the Department of Commerce is heading the Department of Hotel Management



Civic body top brass cruised at full throttle
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The top brass of the municipal corporation, including two previous mayors and former Municipal Commissioner, loved to drive at public expense. In all, these three along with three others, comprising an additional municipal commissioner, a joint commissioner and a superintending engineer, spent over Rs 2 lakh on petrol over and above their entitlement in the financial years 2008-09 and 2009-10.

The audit report has gone on to recommend that the recovery should be made from the erring mayors and also the MC Commissioner, an IAS officer. UT’s Secretary (local government), who is also Home Secretary, it states, is competent to recover the amount.

These findings figure in the MC Audit reports of 2008-09 and 2009-10. Out of the total 3,095 litres of excess petrol used in these two years, 1,594 litres were used in 2008-08, while the figure for 2009-10 was 1,401 litres.

In 2009-10, Mayors Pradeep Chhabra and Anu Chatrath overshadowed MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria in using an excess fuel of 140 litres over their permissible limit.

The report stated that the Mayor used 292 litres in excess of his annual permissible limit of 3,600 litres. On the other hand, the MC Commissioner used 152 litres more than his annual limit of 2,400 litres.

Surprisingly, the Superintending Engineer (B&R) led the other officials by using 450 litres more than the annual limit of 2,100 litres.

Closely following him was the Additional Municipal Commissioner who used 383 litres in excess of his annual limit of 2,100 litres.

A study of the 2008-09 audit report also painted a similar picture. The report stated that in this financial year, there had been an excess usage of 1,566 litres of petrol by Mayors Pradip Chhabra and Kamlesh against the limit of 3,600 litre and 128 litres of excess use by the MC Commissioner against his limit of 2,400 litres.



Brawl leaves girl with broken nose
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
High drama prevailed at Panjab University’s sociology department when two apparently estranged “lovers” thrashed each other here today. The girl ended up with a broken nose and teeth.

Going by the complaint lodged by the girl (who requested not to be identified), she was having an affair with Kanwaljit Singh, president of the revolutionary youth association (CPI-ML), and had lately realised that he was cheating on her.

“He had been cheating on me for the past few months. He had promised to marry me and even met my family in this regard. However, I learned that he was going around with another girl and I had, at one instance, caught them red-handed. I decided to teach him a lesson and reached the venue of a seminar organised by him and painted his face black,” said the girl, on the condition of anonymity.

According to the complaint, enraged Kanwaljit Singh banged her head repeatedly against a desk and fled, leaving her with a broken nose and teeth. As crowd gathered, she called up the police, which took her to the GMSH, Sector 16, for medical examination.

Following her examination, a case under Section 323 and 506 (causing hurt, criminal intimidation) of the IPC was registered against Kanwaljit Singh at the police station-11.



As ragpickers, 3 women stole away cylinders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The crime branch of the Chandigarh police today busted a three-member women gang, comprising two ragpickers, who had become adept in stealing LPG cylinders and then later selling these on the black market to those without a legal consumer number.

Two of the women are ragpickers, who, during the day, used to identify their target while picking rags from houses and then steal cylinders at night.

The two then used to sell the stolen cylinders to their third accomplice who would further sell these on the black market.

Inspector Amanjot Singh, in-charge, UT police crime branch, said the two ragpickers — Sheela and Anu — used to wander in various sectors in the garb of picking rags. The three were residents of Bhaskar Colony, Sector 25.

“The three used to identify houses where residents stored their cylinders in either the front or the rear courtyard. After identifying their target house during daytime, they would return at night to steal them,” he said, adding that maximum cylinders were stolen from the northern Sectors of 8, 10, 18 and 19.

The women then used to further sell these cylinders for Rs 1,500 to another woman — Pushpa.

In turn, Pushpa used to sell these to those who did not have legal consumer numbers for Rs 2,200, the police added.

The police also busted a two-member gang each of drug addicts and habitual offenders who also used to steal LPG cylinders.

In all, 12 cases have been solved with the arrest of the seven persons.

Twenty-seven cylinders have been recovered from them. The other four accused have been identified as Jaswant Singh, Sunil Kumar, Rajiv Kumar and Rajesh.


Audit Report: MC stumbles twice over the same stone
Has been penalised in 2 fiscals for not depositing TDS on time
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Though it is disgraceful to stumble twice over the same stone, yet "thick-skinned" Municipal Corporation (MC) babus have seemingly failed to learn from their past mistakes. For the past two financial years (2008-09 and 2009-10), the Income Tax Department has been imposing a penalty on the civic body for not depositing the tax deducted at sources (TDS) on time.

In fact, in the audit report of 2009-10, two recommendations have been made to the MC authorities for the recovery of a pending amount of Rs 15,149 and Rs 7,646 from the concerned drawing and disbursing officer (DDO) for delay in depositing the TDS. The DDOs concerned should be held accountable for the lapse and the audit department should be intimated about the action, the audit report states.

In the 2008-09 audit report, similar objections were raised when amounts of Rs 16,661 and Rs 8,841 on account of short of deposit of TDS were pointed out by the auditors.

Similarly, in the 2009-10 audit report, objections had been raised that the estate wing had failed to submit records related to receipt and income from properties owned by the MC.

Due to non-submission of records, the audit department was unable to point out the loss to the exchequer. The report had recommended to the MC authorities that proper records should be maintained and put up for the audit examination.

Even in the 2007-08 audit report, recommendation were made to the MC Joint Commissioner-I to take appropriate action to provide demand and collection register of estate branch. This was not done even after issuing number of reminders to the estate branch in past.

Another observation made in the audit report of 2009-10 was that the MC had not been properly maintaining records of its property tax properly since 2006.

There is no record prepared by the department about the particulars regarding the name and address of the owner of the building and the area of each unit. Besides, no receipt entry was signed by the controlling officer.

Cost on auditing

The MC paid the audit fee of a whopping over Rs 55 lakh for the period from March 2009 to February 2010, which was deposited in Central Treasury, Chandigarh.

Audit report of 2009-10

  • In 2009-10, an amount of Rs 25 lakh per quarter was released in favour of the executive engineer (water supply and sanitation division 2), Mohali (Punjab), for the maintenance of the water supply scheme. The details of the expenditure incurred on this account were never given to the MC authorities. A utilisation certificate, which was audited by the Accountant General, Punjab, for the funds released till date, were never supplied. MC has taken no step in this direction.
  • An amount of Rs 33,139 was made by executive engineer (road division 2) on account of water charges bill of Jan Sewa Kendra Sector 47 without any verification about the consumption.
  • To avoid surcharge and disconnection of electricity meters, excessive bills of various wings were deposited. This objection also figures in the audit report.
  • The audit reports state that provisional payments to the tune of Rs 3.55 crore were outstanding as of March 31, 2009. These payments were admitted provisionally subject to the condition that necessary requirements would be completed later on. But no serious efforts were taken to get the outstanding provisional payments settled, the audit asserted.

Audit report of 2008-09

  • A record of excessive calls of phone number 5009333 which is allotted to OSD-II for the month of August 2008 was worked out to be Rs 10,317. In the audit report, a recommendation has been made to recover the excessive amount from the concerned officials.
  • In January 2009, excessive calls worth Rs 337 were made from the computer branch, Rs 58 from the estate branch, Rs 297 from the canteen, Rs 80 by the booking center and Rs 92 by the Swaran Jayanti Shastri Rozgar Yojana department.



High-Security Number Plates
Old vehicle owners queue up, already!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Even as the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) is yet to begin the process of fixing high-security registration plate (HSRP) on new vehicles, applications to fasten these by registered owners of old vehicles have already started trickling in.

In the past three days, the RLA office in Sector 17 has received 12 such applications from registered owners of old vehicles.

RLA officials said there was increased curiosity among vehicle owners about the new plate and even as there was a two-year deadline for over nine-lakh registered vehicle owners in the city, they had started receiving applications even before the process for fastening these plates is to begin i.e. from August 1. In all, five vendors of the HSRP have applied to the RLA for setting up shops in the city.

“At least 12 registered owners of old vehicles have approached us and deposited their RCs (registration certificates) to get the new plates fixed. While their deadline is July 31, 2013, applications have already started trickling in,” said an RLA official.

Admn lays down procedure

  • Formulating a procedure to be adopted, the UT administration has specified separate counters at three places in the city for people wanting to get their new vehicles registered in the UT.
  • These are: RLA, Sector 17; Sub-Divisional Magistrate (South) office, Sector 42, and SDM (East) office, Industrial Area, Phase-I.
  • Fixing of plates on new vehicles will be undertaken from 2 pm to 5 pm by the RLA, Sector 17.
  • For commercial vehicles, the ground opposite Kalagram has been designated as the spot for inspection and passing of vehicles and fixation of plates.
  • In case of two-wheelers, the plate has to be fixed in the front and rear of the vehicle. In case of three-wheelers and four-wheelers, besides two plates in the front and rear, a third registration plate, in the form of a self-destructive sticker, has to be pasted on the windshield of the vehicle.
  • The vehicle owner needs to submit the requisite documents at one of the three designated places, depending on the location of residence.
  • An “HSRP authorisation slip” is then to be obtained from the corresponding RLA office. Three copies of the slip will be issued. Out of these, one will be pasted in the vehicle owner’s registration booklet by RLA officials.
  • The owner will be given the other two copies, one to be retained by the owner as record and the other to be given to the vendor for procuring the plate.

Where to get plates from?

  • Currently, 18 vendors in the country are eligible to sell the high-security plates. The list of these can be obtained from the RLA office and is also available on the website www.morth.nic.in. The vehicle owner will have the liberty to procure the plate from any of the eligible vendors. On procuring the plate, the owner must ensure that the vendor issues two copies of the “HSRP delivery document” to him. The owner will retain one such copy for record. A vendor’s representative has to be brought to the RLA office for affixing the plates to the vehicle.
  • To get the plates fixed, it is mandatory for the owner to submit a copy of the “HSRP delivery document” at the office in his area. The plates will be fixed on the vehicle only on the premises of the RLA office, in the presence of the RLA or his authorised representative.

Once the plates are affixed, the RC will be given to the vehicle owner.



IT counters run out of forms
Downloaded ones not accepted, taxpayers inconvenienced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
A day after the income tax department set up additional counters to facilitate the filing of returns, the service was badly hit this morning due to non-availability of forms, putting people to inconvenience.

Officials said the counters ran out of forms late last evening. The counters opened at 9 am but the forms were not available till 12 noon, leading to chaos.

Ram Kumar, a taxpayer, said he had gone to the Aayakar Seva Kendra hoping that the process of filing the IT return would be simpler and easier. “I wasted three hours as forms were not available. The officials were not accepting forms downloaded from the Internet,” he lamented.

A senior IT official said they were unable to accept the downloaded forms in black and white format as the Central Processing Centre (CPC) accepts only coloured format. He said: “We have already distributed five lakh forms since June 30.”

An official said the demand was more and people were collecting the forms in large numbers. He advised people to take only the required number of forms to avoid shortage.



Fire stations to come up in Sec 65, 78
MC gives Rs 34 lakh to GMADA for the project; construction to start soon
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 27
Setting the ball rolling for the construction of two new fire stations in the town, a sum of over Rs 34 lakh was given by the municipal corporation to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) as part of the lease amount for the land given by the authority for the project here today.

The buildings for the two fire stations will be constructed by GMADA in Sectors 65 and 78.

A cheque for Rs 34,59,729 was handed over to the development authority.

GMADA’s Additional Chief Administrator Parveen Kumar Thind said the corporation had been given a site measuring 2.37 acres in Sector 78 for a fire station. The civic body had to a pay Rs 23,62,985 as part of the lease amount. The site falls on a 200-ft-wide road.

For the site measuring 1.10 acres in Sector 65, a sum of Rs 10,96,744 had to be paid to GMADA. The corporation will now be issued letters of intent, after which it will start preparing the estimates and other details to start the work on the project.

The land for the fire stations has been given to the corporation on lease for 35 years by GMADA. The civic body will have to pay around Rs 1 lakh annually to GMADA as lease amount apart from the amount given today, it is learnt.

Thind said the civic body had been demanding Rs 8.5 crore from GMADA for the purchase of a computerised ladder for fighting fires in high-rise buildings and fire tenders. GMADA will construct the buildings for the new fire stations and also provide funds for the purchase of the requisite machinery.

Even though Mohali is fast expanding, it currently has just one fire station, constructed over 30 years ago.

The building is in a state of neglect and there is shortage of space to park vehicles.Moreover, it is located on one side of the town. As a result, a lot of time is wasted in reaching a scene of fire on the other side of the town.



Quota for children of HC staff
Ball in Haryana Chief Secretary’s court
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, July 27
The Haryana Chief Secretary will now decide whether the wards of the Punjab and Haryana High Court employees are eligible for reservation meant for the children of Punjab and Haryana state staff.

As a case filed by a student Kanchan Sindhu came up for resumed hearing, counsel for the State of Haryana told the Bench of Justice Rajive Bhalla that “the matter has been referred to the Haryana Chief Secretary.”

Punjab, on the other hand, sought time to file a reply after seeking instructions. The case will now come up for further hearing on August 11.

Justice Rajive Bhalla had, on the previous date of hearing, asserted: “I am, prima facie, satisfied that as the employees of the Punjab and Haryana High Court are discharging the duties in connection with the affairs of the states of Punjab and Haryana, their wards shall, therefore, be entitled to be considered against any quota reserved for the wards of the employees for the states of Punjab and Haryana”.

In her petition, Sindhu had earlier asserted she was denied admission to first year of integrated BA-LLB (honours) course in Kurukshetra University, even though her father was an employee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The reason behind denial was “she cannot be considered against a quota reserved for the wards of the employees of the State of Haryana,” her counsel N.C. Kinra told the court.

Enlarging the scope of the petition, Justice Bhalla had asserted: “As the matter requires a reasoned response and would also affect the State of Punjab, let notice be issued to the respondents and the State of Punjab. Before parting with the order, Justice Bhalla had directed: “A seat be kept reserved for the petitioner in the first year of the five-year integrated course”.



Tricity scan

Talk on jaundice

Gastroenterology and Liver Forum, Chandigarh, organised a public awareness talk on viral hepatitis (jaundice). Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sandeep Dhavan, president of the forum, emphasised on the need of such awareness programmes for the public. Prof YK Chawla, head department of hepatology, talked about Hepatitis B and C and informed that these two diseases are major causes of cirrhosis, besides alcohol being another major reason for chronic liver disease. Dr Ajay Duseja discussed about Hepatitis A and E, which are caused by consumption of contaminated water and food.

Prohibitory orders

The Additional District Magistrate has prohibited forming an assembly of five or more persons, taking out processions, making speeches, raising slogans and carrying lathis within the 200-meter radius of Jama Masjid, Sector 20, and Shashtri Market, Sector 22, from July 1. The prohibitory orders had been issued in apprehensions that such groups and organisations may cause obstruction, annoyance or injury and endanger human life and property, according to a press note.

Science Day

Various competitions such as painting, paper reading and model making were organised on the occasion of Science Day at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, here on Wednesday. PJS Dadwal, additional director, department of environment and science and technology, who was the chief guest, encouraged students to opt for basic sciences so that more scientists could be produced in the country.

Healthcare session

Over 60 senior citizens on Wednesday participated in a special interactive healthcare session organised at Fortis Hospital, Mohali. Members from the Senior Citizens Association, Mani Majra, attended the session during which patients recounted their experiences, while Dr Atul Sharma Joshi, consultant surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, gave them tips on healthcare and also explained how laparoscopic surgery is beneficial for senior citizens. Recounting his experiences, SS Matharu, a decorated soldier from Patiala, stated that he had always enjoyed good health thanks to regular exercise and yoga.

Teachers stage protest

Members of the Science Teachers’ Association, Punjab, on Wednesday staged a protest in support of their demands. They gathered near Gurdwara Amb Sahib in Phase VIII and raised slogans against the Punjab government. A large number of police force had been deployed in the area to avoid any untoward incident. The DSP was also present on the spot and tried to persuade them to stop the protest, but failed to convince them. Later, they marched towards Chandigarh but when they reached near the YPS Chowk, they were stopped by the Chandigarh Police and were not allowed to enter the Union Territory.

—Tribune Reporters



Encroachments in market areas
MC employees seek police help
Our Correspondent

Mohali , July 27
Employees of the municipal corporation have requested the Commissioner of the civic body to provide police force to effectively remove encroachments in market areas.

The market verandas and other areas are encroached upon by shopkeepers in most parts of the town and the encroachments multiply in the evening when other persons also put up temporary stalls. The problem of illegal plying of rehris has also been a menace which has been condemned by residents several times.

According to reports, the tehbazari wing of the corporation has two vehicles and eight to 10 employees. Employees said they not only faced staff shortage, but also had to face the wrath of shopkeepers who did not let them remove encroachments.

Market verandas in almost the entire town have been encroached upon by shopkeepers and persons frequenting the markets have to walk in the open under scorching heat as well as in the rainy season. Owners of eating joints put up chairs in the parking areas for the convenience of customers without realising that they are creating parking hurdles.

Some persons put up fruit stalls on roadsides which need to be removed.

An employee of the tehbazari wing said it was difficult to stop some of the persons from encroaching footpaths because of political intervention. But residents moving on the main roads faced problems as these encroachments led to traffic jams because people parked their vehicles on roadsides to buy fruits. Political leaders had told the council employees not to seize fruits of offenders, but only items like baskets, etc.

However, about a year ago, when the civic body employees failed to remove habitual encroachers, they approached the police for help, which was never provided to them.



Housing sector leads in consumer litigation
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
With the real estate booming, housing sector has become the front-runner in consumer litigations, as more than 1,100 cases have been filed in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here.

The grievances pertain to various issues such as banking, medical, telephone, insurance, housing, electricity, airlines and railways.

“This change in pattern is obviously due to the prolific number of housing projects being floated in the region and the consequent defaults being made by builders, including big builders like Emaar MGF and DLF, are also coming in the line of fire in terms of development and delivery of possession,” points out Pankaj Chandgothia, president of the Consumer Courts Bar Association.

“Although their projects may be in Mohali, Zirakpur or Panchkula, but people prefer to invoke the jurisdiction of Chandigarh Courts, taking advantage of their offices being located in the city,” says Rajesh Gupta, who intends to invoke consumer jurisdiction against DLF for delaying a Panchkula project.

Although a major chunk of disputes related to mobile and telephones have now been ousted due to the Supreme Court’s judgment holding that these must be referred to arbitration, still the total number of cases being filed continues to be on the rise, with cases against banking and airlines compensating the loss.

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum president PD Goel said their main emphasis was to provide immediate relief to a consumer/petitioner. The compensation is awarded in such a way that a consumer do not have to suffer further in litigations as the opposite parties can go for an appeal if higher compensation is awarded. Chandigarh has emerged as a consumer conscious city, with more than 10 complaints being filed before the Consumer Fora here, on each working day, on an average.

It is also the only district in the country to have two district forums, which was also necessitated due to heavy filing of cases in the city. In the months of May and June, more than 400 complaints have been filed for redressal of grievances valued at as little as Rs 5 and as high as Rs 98 lakh.

“High Literacy and legal awareness are the key factors contributing to the consumer status of the city,” says Pankaj Chandgothia.



Zirakpur a picture of neglect
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, July 27
Forget about the luxuries, the municipal council here has even failed to provide basic amenities to residents. From bumpy roads to filthy surroundings, Zirakpur has all traits to compete with an under-developed town. Although Zirakpur is a prime transit point for people moving towards Chandigarh and Delhi, the ugly look of the area makes one feel sick. While Zirakpur is fast emerging as an area for investment in real estate, the local bodies have failed to give a make over to the city.

The town even lacks basic facilities like hospitals, bus queue shelters, carpeted roads and clean surroundings. The worst happens during monsoons when all internal roads turn into pools making it tough for one to commute on these roads. Vacant plots in the area have turned into safe heaven for mosquito breeding.The problems don’t end here, stray dogs do not let children and women walk on streets and roads, with encroachments in market areas aggravating their woes.

Residents lamented that councillors get the work of their favourites done without paying any heed to the repeated pleas of others. “Even after a decade, we are still waiting for the facilities to make our lives better,” said Aman Sharma, a resident of Pabhat. He said the civic body was not keen on developing the town. When asked about the slow pace of development work in the town, an MC official said works were being done on a priority basis. “We have sought funds from various departments for the purpose,” he added.



Murder of Panchkula hotelier
Police recovers suicide note
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 27
With a suicide note being recovered from the spot, where Panchkula hotelier Gaurav was burnt alive after being kidnapped, the case has taken a new turn. The suicide note was found near the Pinjore- Baddi road.

Gaurav, who owned a hotel in Morni, was allegedly kidnapped by more than six youths from Sector 22 of Chandigarh on Thursday.

The accused poured petrol on him and set him on fire. They fled after dumping him at Basaulan village near Pinjore. Gaurav could not tell more to the police and succumbed to his injuries on Friday night.

However, a police party reached the spot, where Gaurav was allegedly burnt. It found a piece of paper on which it was written that the deceased had an affair with some girl, whose parents kept threatening him, unable to bear it anymore, he decided to end his life. 



Residents of Sectors 51, 52 face admn’s apathy
Sectors devoid of government school, dispensary, ‘shahaj safai kendra’ and even market
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service
A resident shows an open electric junction box; and (right) a view of the wild growth near a housing complex in Sector 51, Chandigarh
A resident shows an open electric junction box; and (right) a view of the wild growth near a housing complex in Sector 51, Chandigarh. Tribune photos: S Chandan

Chandigarh, July 27
From the past six years, residents of Sectors 51 and 52 of Chandigarh are trying hard to believe that they are a part of the City Beautiful.

The UT Administration’s failure to provide even the basics to these two sectors proves the stepmotherly treatment given to the southern sectors. Forget about luxuries, the sectors even lack a government school, a dispensary, a shahaj safai kendra (SSK) and even a market.

The Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWA) of both sectors have been continuously trying to bring the administration’s attention towards these sectors, however, the hard efforts of the associations have failed to attract their attention towards the need of these sectors.

Representatives of the RWA at a recent Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC) meeting with UT finance secretary (FS) VK Singh had raised these issues.

Janak Raj Sharma, vice-chairman RWA, Sector 51, said it’s been over seven years since the sector came into existence, however, since then the sector has been completely neglected by the administration. “We sometimes doubt that are we a part of Chandigarh, as the facilities provided to Sector 51 are not even comparable to a village,” said Sharma.

The sector lacks a school, does not have a SSK, which is must to dispose the garbage waste of houses. The sector does not even have a dispensary or a community centre. “The sector does not even have a medicine shop and in the need of some kind of medicine, the residents have to rush to Sector 44 for medicines,” Sharma added.

Neha Singh, a resident of the sector, said unlike other sectors, the southern sectors lack the basic facilities, which included the one of e-sampark centre or even a post office. “A large number of population residing in these sectors consists senior citizens, who have to travel to the northern sectors for these facilities.”

Area councillor Ram Sumen Morya when contacted said the sector would soon be having a SSK and a community centre, although he admitted that the projects in the area have been delayed. “Although work under the MC is carried in the area, the issue related to the administration has been neglected by the authorities,” Morya said.

The story of Sector 52 is no different. The residents of this sector on the border of Chandigarh, which was developed a decade ago, have similar issues to discuss they are facing due to the apathy of the UT Administration.

Resident Welfare Society president KL Banga said their sector was another example of the neglected sectors of Chandigarh.

The sector does not have a community centre, a SSK, e-sampark centre and a post office. “The worst is that the sector does not have bus shelters and even a market which are the basics,” said Banga.

He further added that over 30,000 persons reside in this sector among which a majority of them are senior citizens, however, there is not even a dispensary for them. The residents recently had proposed to convert CHB showrooms lying vacant from the past many years in a dispensary, but nothing has been done in this regard so far.

FOSWAC chairman PC Sanghi said they had been raising the issues of these two sectors with the administration from time to time, but the situation has not improved.



Residents seek formation of sanitation bylaws
FOSWAC members meet MC Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Members of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations of Chandigarh (FOSWAC) held a meeting with Municipal Corporation’s (MC) Commissioner Prerna Puri to discuss problems faced by residents.

FOSWAC mainly focused on the problems faced by residents of southern sectors. The common problems of all sectors were also tabled at the meeting with representatives of 26 Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) from Sectors 33 to 61 and Mani Majra.

In the first part of the agenda, common problems of RWAs were discussed that mainly focused on poor maintenance of rear service lanes on which the MC Commissioner assured of carrying a one-time special drive in the sectors from 1 to 30 to clean the rear service lanes.

FOSWAC chairman PC Sanghi also raised the parking problem in the markets and residential areas on which MC officials claimed that the concept of community parking was being worked out in various sectors.

The construction of Shahaj Safai Kendra (SSK) and community centres in various parts of the city was among the agenda items raised by the RWA representatives.

FOSWAC also raised the demand of formation of sanitation bylaws to regulate the collection of door-to-door garbage in the sectors. “We have demanded that the MC should regulate the collection of garbage so that private garbage collectors who are fleecing the residents get out of the picture,” said Sanghi.

The issue of sealing of unauthorised openings in the sectors, enforcement of bylaws to check the dumping of malba, green waste and other filthy articles at different points, stray dog menace, poor illumination and maintenance of streetlights, green belts and parks was also discussed at the meeting.

In the second part of the agenda, various problems of the southern sectors were discussed with the MC officials.



PU to give free education to poor orphans
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
If all goes well, orphan students belonging to the economically weaker section of society will soon get free education and hostel facilities at Panjab University.

In a move that may bring smile on hundreds of faces in the region, Panjab University Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti at the finance board meeting held here today asked university officials to work out a plan for providing 100 per cent free academic and hostel facilities to poor orphans. What will further increase the cheer is the fact that poor students, who might have lost their father, will be made eligible for 50 per cent free ship.

“Panjab University at every step has tried to help needy students. We will work out a plan to execute it soon and then many deserving students who are not able to get quality higher education will get it easily. We have a social responsibility and we are just trying to fulfill it,” said Sobti.

In addition to this, PU has also decided to start its dream project soon with the initial capital investment of Rs 6 crore. The project, which will place PU on the map of pioneers of scientific awareness, is currently waiting an approval from the Ministry of Culture.

The meeting was supplementary and primarily aimed at distribution of Rs 80 crore, which is unused till date, to various ongoing student friendly projects like research scholar hostel, etc.

New post

Given the increasing number of cases being filed by or against Panjab University and frequent need of seeking legal opinion, Panjab University has decided to create a permanent post of law official. The university has decided to get a permanent official to oversee all legal matters rather than outsource the job.



From colleges

Freshers welcomed

Chandigarh: An orientation programme for first year students of medical and non-medical streams and BCA was held at PGGC, Sector 11, on Tuesday. More than 300 students attended the programme. They were told about various activities and programmes to be conducted during the session. College principal Dr JS Raghu said one needed to be self-disciplined. “Regularity and punctuality should be the watch words for all newcomers, as it leads to success,” said the college principal. Ramneek Sharma, Dean of the college, informed students about mandatory class attendance, anti-ragging cell, sexual harassment cell and various other social activity units in the college. Through a Power Point presentation, students were told about the newly introduced concept of mandatory social activities which required every student to enrol him/herself in one or the other social activity group.

Orientation programme

An orientation programme for freshers was organised at Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11. Achila Dogra, principal of the college, welcomed them and highlighted the requirement of 75 per cent attendance and significance of house examination. Besides, they were guided about rules for subject change, fee concession, bus pass, library facilities, NSS, NCC and scholarships. Students were also briefed about various committees that had been constituted to spread awareness about traffic rules, road safety and AIDS. — TNS



From schools
Student bodies protest over ‘frivolous’ issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The student organisations of Panjab University seem to have decided to start a poll “protest drama” early this year with two to three protests being organised, leaving the Panjab University authorities irked.

Two student organisation, which protested in front of the VC office today, were left speechless when otherwise patient dean student welfare Naval Kishore lost his cool and gave them a piece of his mind for protesting over frivolous or already attended issues.

The drama started when supporters of the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) gathered near the VC office and demanded interconnectivity of buildings of girls’ hostels number 1 and 2. The group had submitted a memorandum regarding the same last week and PU officials had even held a meeting in this regard.

“How would we know about the meeting? Nobody informed us and even cared to follow the norm of having a student representative at the meeting. We are thankful to the university for taking our demands seriously as it will benefit students,” said party president Vikramjeet Singh.

Quiz finals

Mohali: Hosts Manav Mangal Smart School today won the Chandigarh city finals of “Limca Book of Records Quiz 2011” held here on Wednesday. The school will now be among 80 schools that will compete in the semifinal. — TNS



Seniority list of masters prepared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
In a move that would rejoice hundreds of UT cadre schoolteachers, the education department after a gap of almost a decade prepared a seniority or gradation list of masters/mistresses, which clears the way for many long pending promotions.

The list has been uploaded on the department’s official website and asked teachers concerned to file objections if any following which the final list would be prepared and promotions would be done.

“This has come as a great relief to us. The deputationist from Punjab and Haryana would come here and become principals, while our own people who even upgraded their qualifications could not even become lecturers. We had been demanding this gradation for long and now it has finally happened,” said a representative of a local teachers’ union.



Parent can travel in school bus to check safety measures
STA issues fresh guidelines to schools, bus operators
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Moving a step ahead to ensure the safety of children travelling in school buses, the State Transports Authority has issued fresh guidelines to schools and school bus operators.

Among the 14 guidelines issued yesterday, a new clause allows either a parent, a guardian or a teacher to travel in a bus to ensure the compliance of safety norms.

Also, a driver once challaned for speeding or drunk/rash driving will not be able to drive a school bus again.

A day after the guidelines were issued, the STA, which usually receives complaints on a daily basis, didn’t get any complaint today.

STA secretary Mahavir Singh said they had issued fresh guidelines to be followed by the enforcement and educational authorities with regard to safety of school buses ferrying children under the Supreme Court directives.

Officials said one of the 14 guidelines specifies the presence of a responsible person in every school bus to ensure the compliance of safety norms.

Under the guidelines, any driver penalised twice for offences like red-light jumping, violation of lane discipline or allowing unauthorised person to driver cannot drive a school bus again and if a driver has been caught once for speeding, drunk or rash driving, he will also stand ineligible for driving a school bus again.

The doors of buses must have reliable locks of specified standards, with a qualified attendant in the vehicle at all times to attend to children.

As school buses fall in the category of transport vehicles, these will have to undergo mandatory fitness test every year, without which the permit cannot be renewed. As per the STA guidelines, the school bus driver should have at least five years of experience of driving heavy vehicles.

STA officials said they had issued fresh guidelines and would soon start a special drive to check the violations.

STA guidelines

  • School buses should be painted in yellow
  • Doors of buses should be fitted with safety locks
  • School bags should be kept at space created under seats
  • A qualified attendant must be present in the bus to look after children
  • A parent, a guardian or a teacher may travel in the bus to ensure compliance of safety norms
  • Driver should have at least five years of experience of driving heavy vehicles.



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