C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


rehri  Markets
Festive hazard, readiness
 Shoppers’ hotspots a ticking time bomb
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
With festive spirit soaring, shopping areas of the city, especially Sectors 19 and 22, are buzzing with shoppers, unmindful of the danger lurking right round the corner. With “rehri” markets in these sectors lacking both in fire-fighting equipment and space for emergency evacuation, even a small mishap can spell a disaster.

Rampant encroachment has choked almost the entire market, including the entry and exit points, which, in the event of a fire, may lead to a stampede. The narrow and congested lanes are commonplace even when there is no festival.

Rampant encroachment by shopkeepers has led to the choking of passageways, thereby posing a challenge for shoppers, at the Shastri Market, Sector 22, in Chandigarh
Rampant encroachment by shopkeepers has led to the choking of passageways, thereby posing a challenge for shoppers, at the Shastri Market, Sector 22, in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: S Chandan

In times like the festive season, when the potential for disaster is maximum, the authorities remain oblivious to the safety concerns of thousands of residents visiting the market everyday.

Despite the festive season and the consequent huge rush of people, the municipal corporation seems to have done little to check illegal occupancy by shopkeepers.

Nikhil Singh, a resident of Sector 37, said he found it difficult to even walk, let alone shop in the Sector-19 “rehri” market due to the limited space.

“It is a struggle and one has to jostle in order to walk through the market. It is especially unsafe for children who can either get lost in the crowd or suffer minor injuries in heavy rush,” said Singh, who had to shop in the market.

The situation is the same in the Sector-22 “rehri” market where there is barely enough space to walk through the market.

Rachna Dogra, a local resident, said displays by shopkeepers at the cost of walking space was making it next to impossible for visitors to shop easily.

“There should be a check on such encroachment. The authorities should regularly visit these markets, especially during the festive season when the number of visitors is high,” said Dogra.

Staff crunch

We conducted a special drive to check encroachment in Sector 22 on Saturday. However later that evening, the encroachment was back. There is no permanent solution to the problem in the absence of sufficient staff in the enforcement wing. We have issued instructions for the removal of encroachment in passages, pathways and other areas. The estate office, the police and the MC’s enforcement wing need to coordinate to curb the problem.— Lalit Siwach, Additional Commissioner, MC



 PCR cops hit jams
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
In a unique exercise to check the response time of the Police Control Room (PCR) vehicles ahead of Diwali, the UT police organised a mock drill last night asking a vehicle from each police station to report at a predetermined point. Interestingly, PCR officials were not informed that it was a mock drill.

A number of police vehicles got stuck in traffic jams owing to the festival rush, following which each PCR vehicle in-charge was asked to adopt alternative routes to reach the scene in the minimum time possible.

The drill was again conducted at Sector 42 and Matka Chowk around 2 pm today.

Last night, the exercise was conducted at the Mataur roundabout, Sector 56, where a PCR vehicle each from police stations of Sectors 31, 34, 36, 39 and Industrial Area was asked to report at 9 pm.

While vehicles closer to the designated place reached on time, others arrived late.

Two PCR inspectors were deputed at the roundabout to register the response time of the vehicles. The second mock drill was conducted near the SGGS traffic intersection in Sector 26, where one vehicle each from police stations of Sectors 3, 11, 17, 19, 26 and Mani Majra was asked to report.

Again, it was observed that the vehicles covering longer distances got stuck in traffic jams and arrived late. The mock drill was conducted on UT SSP Naunihal Singh’s orders. The officials who were in-charge of the respective vehicles were not aware of the fact that it was a drill.

“The PCR officials were asked to reach a predetermined spot in the shortest time possible. They have been issued instructions to adopt alternative routes if they find traffic jams,” said DSP PCR Roshan Lal.

Encounter snarl-ups

As a number of police vehicles got stuck in traffic jams owing to the festival rush, each PCR vehicle in-charge was asked to adopt alternative routes to reach the scene at the earliest




‘Car’fall on Dhanteras
1,000 expected to roll out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Up to 1,000 cars are expected to hit the city roads on Dhanteras, considered an auspicious day falling tomorrow, across the tricity. City residents have been waiting for the day to make new purchases, especially of gold, property and cars.

With festive discounts being offered by automobile dealers, residents have been busy making use of the opportunity to own a car at a better deal.

The soaring fuel prices have failed to deter the enthusiasm to purchase vehicles, as the booking of cars has seen an increase as compared to last year.

Dealers say people have booked all categories of vehicles, from petrol to diesel and small to sedan.

Pardeep Sheoran, a manager at a car dealer agency, said they had received maximum bookings for the delivery of vehicles on Dhanteras. “On an average, we sell five to seven cars daily. However, on Dhanteras, we expect to deliver around 80 cars,” he said.



Recession PANGS
GMADA reduces reserve price of plots
 106 sites to be auctioned in Mohali
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 23
Stung by recession and poor response to its last two auctions held in 2010, Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has lowered the reserve price of residential and commercial plots that will go under the hammer next month. On an average, the reserve prices of properties have been reduced by 10 to 15 per cent in all sectors where the sites are located.

Though the exact date of the auction has not been finalised, about 74 commercial and 32 residential sites would be auctioned next month. A senior GMADA official said the reserve prices had been reduced to attract people. Higher reserve price was keeping prospective bidders at bay till date, he added.

Citing example, he said the reserve price of a shop-cum-office (SCO) site in Sector 70 had been reduced to Rs 457 lakh from Rs 535 lakh (this reserve price was quoted during the February 2010 auction). Similarly, the reserve price of a booth in Sector 71 had been reduced to Rs 31.35 lakh from Rs 36.09 lakh (this was the reserve price during the February, 2010 auction).

In case of a residential property, GMADA has reduced the reserve price of a kanal plot to Rs 40,000 per square yard from Rs 50,000 per square yard quoted during the last year’s auction. There were no takers for the residential sites due to the recessionary trend in the real estate sector.

Sources said the decision to change the formulae for calculating the reserve price of a site (a major shift in the auction policy) had been approved in the last moth’s meeting itself. It was pointed out that only 12 out of 45 commercial sites could be sold during the February, 2010 auction. Whereas in September, 2009 only 17 out of 69 commercial were sold as there were no takers for residential sites.

As per the new formulae, the reserve price of unsold sites and the price of the sold sites have been clubbed while calculating the lowest price to start bidding for a site in a specific sector. This has reduced the reserve price of a site, varying for different sectors.

However, a proposal for seeking full payment of an auctioned plot within 90 days of the auction has not been implemented so far. The present system of paying 25 per cent of the auctioned price of a commercial site within a month of an auction and the balance 75 per cent in four yearly installments would, however, continue. 


GMADA is planning to launch e-auction. Though this scheme is yet to be approved by the state government, officials feel this will attract more bidders



CII fair
Pak exhibitor’s purse nicked
Contained Rs 2.5 lakh, $ 700, passport

Chandigarh, October 23
Taking advantage of the huge rush at the ongoing CII fair at the parade ground in Sector 17, pick-pockets made good with a purse containing Rs 2.5 lakh along with $ 700 in cash belonging to a woman member of a Pakistan delegation participating in the fair.

Buhshra Tabassam, a 45-year-old resident of Lahore, reported to the police that her purse was stolen from her counter at the fair last night.

In addition to the huge quantity of cash, the purse contained her passport, IDs, driver’s licence and a mobile phone.

The incident occurred around 9 pm when Tabassam was busy attending to clients at her garments stall where her bag was lying under a stool. Her husband is a doctor in Lahore.

The police has informed the Regional Passport Office and the UT Police intelligence wing about the theft.

Tabassam is putting up at Hotel Shivalikview in Sector 17. Her visa is valid till November 11. In another incident, thieves took away a laptop from a stall belonging to a private computer institute at the fair.

Ramandeep Singh of Johar Computer Institute said the laptop was on display when it was stolen. The police has registered cases of theft at the police station-17. TNS



Bikers hit, injure cop on duty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
A UT police constable on traffic duty suffered critical injuries in the head and mouth after two youths riding a bike hit him on being signalled to pull over for violating the traffic rules.

The youths were riding without helmet when they were signalled to pull over. The youths tried to speed away and in the process hit the constable, Hoshinder Rana. He suffered serious injuries and was admitted to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.

The incident occurred around 8.30 pm at the Housing Board traffic lights in Mani Majra.

The constable suffered broken front teeth and a head injury in the incident.

The police has arrested the two, identified as Robin, a student and resident of Naya Gaon, and pillion rider Sanjeev.

A case of assault on public servant and rash and negligent driving has been registered at the Mani Majra police station.


Celebrating work
No festival is fun without family and friends. And when it’s Diwali, who wants to be at work and miss all the fun, including puja, lighting diyaas, bursting crackers, sharing all goodies with the loved ones. But there will be many professionals from essential services such as doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen and others in the city who will be deprived of this joy and will be at their workplace on Diwali night

Dr Nishant Navani, a senior resident (SR), Advanced Eye Centre from the PGI, will be among about 60 government doctors in the city performing duty with the sole motive of providing relief to those who need help in their hour of distress. Not all of these three score doctors will be on duty out of sheer sense of willingness or with the motive to serve the needy, but there nevertheless will be some who will feel happy to be in this position to serve humanity.

Dr Navani, a senior resident (SR) at the Advanced Eye Centre in the PGI, will be celebrating his second consecutive Diwali in a hospital rather than at home. “I am proud that my seniors have faith in me and have assigned me to take care of medical cases that come on this (Diwali) night,” says Dr Navani, who has been working at the PGI for the past five years. He says he is always happy to sacrifice the fun of festivals for those unfortunate people who suffer injuries. However, he says the increased level of awareness has over the years led to a steady decline in the number of eye injury cases caused by crackers.

Though there are some doctors who feel they are ‘unfortunate’ because their names figure in the Diwali night duty roster, the younger and unmarried doctors are taking it in their stride. ‘‘I have night duty on Diwali and it makes no difference to me as I am single. Moreover, the call of duty is a priority over any other personal work in our job,’’ says a doctor at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Sector 32.

Dr Laxmi, a senior resident in the gynaecology department, who will be on duty on Diwali night, will be unable to spend Diwali night with her children. In fact, her children will have to spend Diwali with their grandparents since her husband is scheduled to fly overseas to attend a conference. “It is not possible to ignore patients, especially when they need us. Though we have to miss the festivities, it gives me professional satisfaction.’’

—Anuja Jaiswal

It takes Khila Nand, an assistant lineman in the electricity department, a few minutes to recall when he last celebrated Diwali with his family. One cannot blame him because it was 25 years ago when he last did so with his family. Not surprisingly, all he is able to recall is his bursting crackers with his family. This year, too, Khila Nand will be ensuring that nothing goes wrong with the power supply in the city while on duty from 4 pm to 11 pm. And in case there does turn out to be electric supply fault, he could then be on duty until well past midnight. “Diwali is like any other day for me now. For me, Diwali is a day to ensure that everyone can safely celebrate the festival,” said Khila Nand. His wife, Leela Vatti, recalls that she initially used to have problem with her husband working on this day when everybody in the family gets together for prayers. However, she has now realised that for Khila Nand his work is Diwali. “Although he is on duty in the evenings, I greet him with God’s blessings and sweets when he returns home,” Vatti said. Khila Nand has two daughters, a son and a granddaughter. Everyone in his family have reconciled to celebrating Diwali alone.

—Amit Sharma

“My dad is afraid of crackers so he prefers to go to office on Diwali,” says five-year-old Harshit Bhardwaj, who has never got an opportunity to celebrate Diwali with his father Sanjeev Bhardwaj, who incidentally has been on duty in the control room every Diwali night for the past six years. Sanjeev feels proud that he has been serving residents of his city when everybody is busy celebrating, says he has never celebrated Diwali ever since he got married. “I have never been able to do so because my shift timings are from 4 pm till midnight,” he says while crediting his wife 

Vijay Bhardwaj for sacrificing without complaining. “I am able to work on Diwali because my family supports me. Else, it would have been very difficult for me to carry on with my job,” he says. But his wife is disappointed that her husband has been unable to celebrate Diwali with her and their son for the past six years. She suggests that the fire department should have a rotational duty chart during the festive season so that everybody gets an opportunity to spend time with their respective families. She said the families of those firemen residing with them in the fire stations are lucky as they are able to celebrate Diwali together till there is a fire call.

Police Officer
Harpreet Singh

The Festival of Lights for this 35-year-old UT police constable Harpreet Singh paints a grim picture as he lost his father on Diwali 19 years ago. Posted as gunman to SP Sita Ram, his father Kewal Krishan was shot dead by terrorists in 1992. Having joined the UT police force on compassionate grounds, Harpreet has celebrated Diwali with his family only once ever since. “Ever since I joined the force in 1995 at the age of 18, I have celebrated Diwali with my family only once that was in 2003 when my son was born. I am on duty always on this day. I have it in my blood and the sacrifice is nothing to what my father sacrificed for the nation. For me duty is supreme,” he says. “I remember I was at Amrali village near Ropar to celebrate Diwali when my father was shot dead by armed assailants. I was a student of Class X then. Being the eldest son, I took responsibility of my family and have given my best to the police force,” he said.

Hailing from Ropar in Punjab, Harpreet resides in Sector 38 (West) with his wife and seven-year-old son. He has temporary posting in the control room on Diwali night. “My family understands me and my job,” he says. “Never celebrated Diwali at home,” lady constable Working as a constable with the UT police since 1991, lady constable 

Parveen Kumari is out on Diwali every year since then. Presently posted at the Sector 19 police station, the 42-year-old looks forward to being on duty and has taken the sacrifice of not celebrating the festival at home as an integral part of life. “My family comprises my husband, son and a daughter and all of them have always been very supportive. I have never been able to celebrate Diwali with them and they know my job demands more on this day as security of residents is very important,” she says. Parveen was awarded the best beat constable award at a function organised jointly by the Chandigarh police and Senior Citizen Association last month. She has earlier been posted for duty at VIP security, traffic, police station, Sector 3, and various other wings of the police. “Duty on Diwali involves a tedious exercise of keeping a check on anti-social elements,” she says. Her sister Parvesh Sharma is an inspector with the police.

Total deployment in fire stations on Diwali

Chief fire officer 1 
Sub fire officers 2
Station fire officers 4
Leading firemen 33 
Firemen 144 
Drivers 47 
Telephone operators 17



take care!
Seven fresh dengue cases in city
Number of affected persons goes up to 37
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
With seven new cases being confirmed, the total number of people affected from dengue has gone up to 37.

As per data collected by the UT health department, five men and two women from various part of the city were diagnosed with dengue. Dr G Verma, UT anti-malaria officer, said that male patients were from Mauli Jagran, GMCH-32 campus, Sector 40, 47 and Burail and females were from Sector 20 and Hallo Majra.

According to experts, Dengue is a mosquito-borne infection that causes a severe flu-like illness, and sometimes a potentially lethal complication called dengue haemorrhagic fever. Global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. The infection is widespread in tropical and sub-tropical climates, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas and dengue haemorrhagic fever is a leading cause of serious illness and death among children. 

n Remove water collected in plates kept under potted plants. Clean and scrub the plate thoroughly to remove mosquito eggs. Avoid using plates if possible.

n Loosen soil in the pots to prevent accumulation of stagnant water on the surface of hardened soil.

n No tray or receptacles should be kept under or on top of air-conditioners

n Change water in flower vases daily. Clean and scrub the inside of vases. Wash roots of flowers and plants thoroughly as mosquito eggs can stick to them easily

n Frequently check and remove stagnant water on your premises



All trains running jam-packed this Diwali
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
If you are planning to travel to celebrate Diwali with your near and dear ones by train from the city then look out for air or bus tickets. Most trains running from the city to the other parts of the country, including Lucknow, Mumbai and Allahabad are already full. The only hope of getting the tickets in the train is through tatkal, which will start about 48 hours in advance.

The trains have already been booked and promise a packed schedule ahead of the festival season in the upcoming month.

Railway officials said that reservations for trains that had departure dates immediately before the festival i.e.on October 26, have long waiting list already. Trains that depart on October 24 - Chandigarh-Chennai has a waiting list of 247, Chandigarh-Mumbai of 285, Chandigarh-Delhi Shatabdi of 128, and Lucknow of 347. Similarly, the waiting list in other trains, including Chandigarh-Dibrugarh and Chandigarh to Howrah and Jaipur has long waiting list.

"Those who could not get a berth in regular trains are waiting for the special trains to be announced. Trains that depart a day before the festival is popular because people want to be at their native place on the festival day," said a senior railway official.

The spokesman of Northern Railways Ambala Division, has stated that the trains will be supported with an additional coach in order to manage the large number of commuters during the festive season.

The Railways sees huge passenger traffic between Chandigarh and other parts of the country during the festival season, but there is no much rush for tickets on trains scheduled on the festival day and immediately later.

"This has become a regular feature because the number of passengers who travel during the festival season has increased tremendously while the number of trains has remained more or less the same," said an official.

Another railway official advised that if the passengers planning a long journey failed to get their seats reserved then they should book their tickets online from New Delhi as there were numerous trains from New Delhi railway station that might help the commuters to reach their destination on time during the festive season.



revenue collection
Excise dept banks on Ra.One
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
It’s not only the fans of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, who are eagerly waiting to watch his latest flick Ra.One, but the UT Excise and Taxation Department is also awaiting its release scheduled for this Divali.

The interest of the department’s officials in the movie is for sheer financial reasons, as they believe that the movie will help boost their revenue collection under the head of entertainment tax (ET), which witnessed a dip of 20 per cent in tax collection this year. While the net collection of ET in September was Rs 66,10,687, the last year’s figure (September, 2010) was Rs 82,63,703.

“Now we are pinning hopes on some big movies like Ra.One to boost our collections so that we can reach our proposed target of Rs 7 crore,” said a senior official of the department.

Though September has witnessed a dip in collection, there was a rise of 12.43 per cent in the ET collection up to September. Whereas the last year’s collection up to September was Rs 4.06 crore, the net collection this year (up to September) was just Rs 4.57 crore.

The official admitted that the rise was almost negligible as other heads of taxes like State Excise (ST) and Passenger Tax (PT) were increased to 63.29 per cent and 55.88 per cent, respectively.



petrol pilferage
CITCO moots billing system
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) is planning to introduce billing system to check the alleged pilferage of petrol and diesel from its filling stations in the city by drivers of a few government departments.

The corporation’s petrol station in Sector 9 caters to 350 government departments of the city and Punjab. These departments purchase petrol and diesel on credit, which comes to over Rs 2.50 crore per month.

The Vigilance Department had recently conducted an enquiry into siphoning off of 18,000 liters petrol from the corporation’s another petrol station in Sector 56.

CITCO provides credit slips to the government departments. The drivers of government vehicles handover these slips to those manning the petrol station after getting their vehicles filled.

“Petrol station employees take the credit slips from the drivers without attaching the slips generated by the dispensing machines. These slips carry the details like time and date besides petrol as well as diesel purchased in liters. Thus, pilferage is possible under this system,” said Kashmir Chand, president, CITCO Workers’ Union.

We have in a letter written to the CITCO’s Managing Director requested him to start attaching the slips generated by the dispensing machines with the credit slips of the clients, added Kasmir Chand. “The present system has loopholes,” he alleged.

Talking to The Tribune on the issue, DK Tiwari, Managing Director, CITCO, said he had directed officials to look into the matter.

“The instructions have been issued to improve the system as well as to plug the loopholes if any,” Tiwari added.



Blockades put commuters to inconvenience
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 23
It was a day of harassment for commuters travelling between Mohali and different parts of Punjab, as ETT computer teachers blocked the National Highway-21 near the Kharar bus stand. The blockade continued till evening as the teachers remained squatted on the national highway, resulting in traffic snarls on the road leading to Ludhiana, Ropar and different parts of Himachal Pradesh. The police had a tough time diverting the traffic on the Kurali- Chandigarh section and Kharar-Banur road.

In Mohali, veterinary inspectors staged a dharna at the YPS chowk in Phase VIII leading to disruption of traffic on the Chandigarh-Mohali road. Being a holiday, a number of commuters, who were travelling between the two cities to exchange Diwali greetings were caught unaware. 



Musical night marks end of youth fest

Chandigarh, October 23
The concluding day of the zonal youth festival reverberated with vibrancy of events at Panjab University today.

Enthralled by musical night by Satinder Sartaj, students thronged the campus for the most-awaited bhangra competition, which left Khalsa College cribbing.

While PGGC-11 were declared first, Khalsa College-26 secured the second position followed by DAV-10, which bagged the third position.

The declaration of results left members of Khalsa College team protesting against the judgment who demanded review of the judgment.

It was for the first time that PU hosted this festival. The festival enveloped the entire campus with fun, excitement and zeal. — TNS



Fall in driver’s licence cancellation cases
 Neatly worked-out nakas a big deterrent to traffic violators: DSP
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
If the fall in the suspension of driving licences is any indication of improved traffic conditions on city roads, the numbers have fallen from 40 in 2008 alone to about the same number over the next three years.

“Neatly worked-out nakas all over the city have proved to be the biggest deterrent to the traffic violators,” said Vijay Kumar, DSP (Traffic).

Interestingly, city roads have witnessed just an 11 per cent increase in fatal accidents despite a 275 per cent increase in the number of vehicles registered in the city during the past 21 years.

The Chandigarh Police recommends the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) to suspend the licence of that driver who has been issued challan at least five times. The DSP said: “We are linking the cases of drunken driving to the suspension of licences. Habitual traffic violators will be asked to be dealt with sternly by the RLA”. 

Suspension can be up to 6 months

On the recommendations of the Chandigarh Police, the RLA has the power to suspend the driving licence (DL) of the offenders up to six months. The Chandigarh Police sends the statement to the RLA, showing the number of cases for suspension of DLs at regular intervals. “We take action on every case being recommended by the Chandigarh Police,” said Sanjeev Kohli, local Registration and Licensing Officer, adding that certain cases (about 20 in number), where the police has sought action, were pending.



Man falls off roof, dies

Chandigarh, October 23
A 48-year-old resident of Sector 44 died after he fell from the second floor of a temple in Sector 31 today.

The victim has been identified as Roop Chand. The police said the victim was installing lights at the temple for Divali when he accidentally slipped from the second floor. The police was informed and he was rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he succumbed to injuries.

The victim suffered injuries on his head and other parts of the body. The police has ruled out any foul play and initiated inquest proceedings.

Pedestrian killed

An unidentified person was killed in a road accident here today. The accident occurred near a liquor vend opposite the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 43. The victim was on foot when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle. The accused fled from the spot and the police was informed by a passerby. The victim in his early 50’s, was rushed to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital in Sector 16 where doctors declared him brought dead. A case has been registered at the Sector 36 police station. — TNS



One month on, no trace of new UT Home Secretary
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
One month after former UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas was repatriated to his parent cadre of Haryana, there is no trace of the new Home Secretary for the UT Administration with administrative work being adversely affected.

Though the UT Administration has divided the departments held by the Home Secretary among five senior bureaucrats, including Adviser to the UT Administrator, KK Sharma, yet no major decisions are being taken by the officers holding additional charges.

The Haryana Government had sent a panel comprising three officers for the post of the Home Secretary in the last week of June. While two of the officers in the panel, RR Jowel and PK Das, from the 1986 batch of the IAS, were promoted to the rank of Principal Secretary-cum-Financial Commissioner immediately after the Haryana government sent the panel to the UT administration third contender for the crucial post was Anil Kumar, a 1988-batch IAS officer.

In the wake of reports that officers of the rank of Principal Secretary, which was equivalent to the rank of Joint Secretary in the Government of India, could not be appointed as the new Home Secretary, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had reportedly recommended the name of Anil Kumar to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).The final nod for the selection of the new officer has to come from the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

A senior functionary of the UT Administration said that given its small size and insignificant political importance, appointments for Chandigarh are obviously not the top priority for the ACC, which looked after the senior postings of the entire country. A senior official holding additional departments, usually held by the Home Secretary, conceded that he could not take major decisions. “Since the UT Home Secretary’s post is a senior level post, I cannot take chances and decide on major issues as a matter of principle,” he quipped.

Will history repeat itself?

History seems to be repeating itself in the appointment of the new Home Secretary. In 2008, the Central Government took about seven months to appoint a Home Secretary severely affecting even the routine administrative work, as additional charge was held by Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar.



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