C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Missing boy’s body found from tubewell bore
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
The body of the 10-year-old boy, Golu, who went missing from near his house in Budanpur village here on October 28, was found buried under slush in a 6-foot-deep pit dug up by a contractor to bore a tubewell.

The wailing mother of the victim.
The wailing mother of the victim. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal

The victim’s family members alleged that confusion over area jurisdiction from where the child went missing had delayed his search.

Though the cause of the death of the boy was yet to be ascertained, the police believes that the boy died due to drowning in the pit that had been left uncovered by the contractor engaged by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to bore the tubewell, indicating the contractor’s negligence.

As the pit full of water was left uncovered by the contractor, the victim, living in the adjoining locality of Mauli Jagran, fell in it while playing there on October 28. Based on preliminary investigations, the police has registered a case under Section 304A against the contractor Salim for causing death due to negligence. The victim’s family members kept on shuttling between the Chandigarh Police department and Panchkula police department over the jurisdiction of the incident.

While Mauli Jagran lies in Chandigarh, Budanpur falls in Panchkula. The family lives in Mauli Jagran that falls in Chandigarh. Golu was seen playing across the road which falls in Panchkula district.

The family was even insulted by the police for having a large number of children, said Kusum, mother of Golu, wiping her tears.

Golu, youngest among nine children of Chhote Lal, a migrant labourer, was last seen playing near the pit at 12.30 pm on October 28. When the family could not find him, it approached the police in the evening. Police personnel from the Sector 16 police post of Panchkula searched the boy in the pit but left the place not funding him there. Even the contractor was asked to fill up the pit with earth, said Rita, sister of Golu.

Contractor’s negligence?

The police believes that the boy died due to drowning in the pit that had been left uncovered by the contractor engaged by HUDA to bore the tubewell, indicating the former’s negligence

Jurisdiction problem

This was not the first time that dispute between Panchkula and Chandigarh police over jurisdiction has landed a complainant in trouble. On July 21, Gaurav, managing a hotel at Morni, was allegedly kidnapped from Sector 22 of Chandigarh and dumped near Pinjore. The case was ultimately registered by the Panchkula police at 1 am after the police from both areas kept on fixing the responsibility on each other.

No lessons learnt

The Panchkula administration seems to have learnt no lesson from the incident. While many of the pits can be seen lying unguarded in Budanpur, a manhole has been left without cover right at the entrance to the village.



Election office faux pas leaves voters at sea
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
A faux pas by the UT Election Office in swapping two significant pockets of Mani Majra, falling in ward numbers 25 and 26, has left hundreds of first-time voters utterly confused.

The first-time voters, who are getting themselves registered with the UT Election Department, are being directed to submit their documents at the booths in the neighboring ward. The confusion was the result of a failure on part of the UT Administration to update the details relating to the areas falling under these wards. Interestingly, as per the UT Administration records, there are a few areas which have been shown in ward number 26, but, in fact, these actually come under the purview of ward number 25.

The election department column in the UT Administration website also depicts the same details of the wards, which is not only misguiding, but also causing a great deal of harassment to the first-time voters who want to get themselves registered at the booths set up in their wards.

A senior election commission official said the Election Commission was also preparing their own boothwise list for the MC elections, which would be published on November 3 and if any voter had objection, it would be looked into by the returning official concerned.

Areas swapped by UT Election Dept

Records of 2006 show that booth numbers 326, 329, 330, 332, 337 and from 344 to 348 were part of ward number 25, but the list which is provided on the website of the UT Administration shows that all these booths were part of ward number 26. As per the latest records of the UT Administration, out of 30 booths, 20 belong to ward number 26. However in 2006, both wards had 15 booths each according to the areas lying under their purview.

As per the records, the area from Housing Board Chowk to Railway Line lies under Mani Majra, which is part of ward number 25, but in the UT Administration list the whole area is shown under ward number 26.

As per the UT Administration list, streets namely Kela Mohalla, Nagla Basti, Samadhi Gate, Arora Mohalla, Mori Gate, Balmiki Mohalla, Mukhya Bazaar, Chutti Mohalla, Mata Rajkaur Mohalla, Gobindpura, Rajpurohit, Thakur Dawar, Dera Sahib, Raina Wala Mohalla and Shadho Wali Gali are part of ward number 26, but actually these are part of ward number 25.

As the latest census data is not available for the coming MC elections the UT state election commission has taken the voters list of last general elections in which wardwise details are not depicted separately.

But for the convenience of the public, the UT Administration has prepared a wardwise list and provided it to the booth officials.

Polling dates

Sources in the election commission revealed that the state election commissioner, UT Chandigarh, Rakesh Mehta, might announce the dates of the CMC elections tomorrow, which are scheduled in December 2011.



Residents get more time as Centre sends back papers
High-security registration plates on vehicles
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Residents need not bother about installing high-security registration plates (HSRP) on their vehicles immediately, as the Centre, once again, has sent back the tender document to the Chandigarh Administration.

In an embarrassing situation, the UT Administration has received the query in this regard for the third time.

It may be mentioned that the administration, which was overzealous in starting the affixation of the HSRPs in August, had got reprimand from the apex court for not adopting the proper procedure in the HSRP issue and was subsequently given six weeks for rectification on August 30.

Refusing to divulge the exact details of the query, a senior official conceded that even if the query’s answer was accepted, the process would still involve calling tenders and finalising bids, which could take more than a couple of months.

It maybe mentioned that the document was sent to the Centre for the first time in mid-September. The papers have been returned in which questions have been asked “one after the other”.

Replying to a question, UT Home Secretary Satya Gopal said he had received the document with “certain questions”. “I can only comment after I went through the details of the questions,” he said. He added that the administration was keen to initiate the process as early as possible. 



Training session: Cop slaps junior
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
High drama was witnessed at the recruit training centre (RTC) at the police lines in Sector 26 here this morning when a training instructor allegedly slapped a constable of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) for not following his orders during a training session.

Narinder Singh, the slapped constable, reacted by calling the police control room and informed that he had been assaulted and manhandled by the senior cop. The matter ended in a compromise when seniors intervened to resolve the matter.

The incident occurred at 10 am when ASI Parvesh Kumar was instructing the batch of IRB constables. He noticed that constable Narinder was inattentive and not obeying his orders. When he pulled up the offender, the constable retorted back verbally, leading to a heated argument.

The flared tempers ended with the instructor planting his slap across the face of the “erring constable”. The visibly shaken Narinder dialled the police control room number from his mobile phone, informing that he had been manhandled. A PCR van reached the spot immediately along with a senior official.

The constable told the police that he had been assaulted and beaten up by his senior. However, the cops soon effected a compromise between both parties. A daily diary report was lodged at the Sector 26 police station.



PGI Admission Scam
CBI submits first chargesheet
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted its first chargesheet in the district courts here today in the PGI admission scam case. The CBI had recently arrested mastermind Gaurav Shalin in this regard.

Sources revealed that it was the first chargesheet and in the coming days, the CBI would submit supplementary chargesheet as well.

Confirming the development, CBI (DIG) Mahesh Aggarwal said they had submitted the first chargesheet against the accused involved in the scam.

The CBI had arrested Gaurav Shalin, following the exposure of the multi-crore admission scam by The Tribune on September 28 last year.

Gaurav, the main accused in the scam, was running the entire racket involving admissions in the PGI for MD/MS courses in 2009.

On September 28, 2010, the anti-corruption branch of the CBI had arrested two junior resident doctors of the PGI, Dr Amit Musale and Dr Sujay Sonawane, who had allegedly secured admission by paying hefty sums and had cleared the entrance exam with the help of impersonators.

According to the CBI, Gaurav had got Amit admitted in MD (pharmacology) and Sujay in MD (paediatrics) in the PGIMER, Chandigarh, by using unknown persons to impersonate the duo in the entrance examination.

Amit and Sujay used to convince aspiring candidates about the genuineness of the admission process being used by Gaurav.

Gaurav’s main areas of operation were Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, where he, along with his partners, would send text messages to aspirants for various examinations offering sure shot seats at a certain price. The CBI court has already dismissed the anticipatory bail application filed by co-accused Dr Sameer Kumar Patel. The court, however, granted bail to Amit and Sujay on October 31, 2010.


sector scan
Bumpy roads, ill-maintained parks sum up 
Sector 28
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
Bumpy roads, ill-maintained parks and heaps of garbage have made residents of Sector 28 feel a neglected lot. “We decided to settle in this area with a hope that it will be a better place to live, but it proved to be a dream,” said Vijay Arora, president of the House Welfare Association. Sweepers come only once a week, he said. Hardly, a few garbage bins are placed and that too are in a bad shape.

In the name of development, HUDA had started constructing a community centre, the work of which has come to a standstill and the building is being used by anti-social elements, said Ajit Singh, a local resident.

The roads in the sector are in a deplorable state, said Rajesh Chauhan, another resident. Despite repeated requests, no action has been taken yet, he added. You name the problem and it is present here, still no one cares, says Babita, a housewife.



Badal breathes life into two housing projects
Go-ahead for 250-acre urban estate in Zirakpur and housing projects spread over 800 acres in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 31
In a significant decision, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today granted approval to a move by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to revive two housing projects -- a 250-acre urban estate in Zirakpur and housing projects spread over 800 acres in Sectors 88, 89 and 90. The land acquisition in both the cases had been pending for the last over five years due to litigation.

The projects have been revived after the litigation ended. In a high-level meeting attended by the District Planning Committee Chairman NK Sharma, secretary PUDA, Chief Administrator GMADA and Principal Secretary Labour Department, it was decided that the landowners whose land would be acquired for the Zirakpur urban estate would be offered flats instead of individual plots under the land-pooling scheme.

Initially GMADA, had offered land compensation varying between Rs 10 lakh an acre and Rs 30 lakh an acre. Those opting for land compensation would be offered around Rs 1.50 crore an acre.

It was decided that farmers from Sector 81 would get plots under the oustee quota, fulfilling the long pending demand of the farmers.

It was also decided to enhance the compensation for farmers of Sector 88 and 89 to Rs 1.7 crore as per the award of land decided last month. Although the farmers had lost the case in court and were to get Rs 18 lakh an acre, but the Chief Minister decided to give them enhanced compensation. Though the Chief Administrator of GMADA, Saravjit Singh, could not be contacted, it is learnt that the CM also approved a move by GMADA to go vertical with the construction of high-rise residential towers in the upcoming sectors of Mohali.

The proposed covered area of the flats would vary between 750 sq ft and 1,600 sq ft. The cost would vary between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 60 lakh. It is planned that apart from EWS and middle category flats, the flats would have all the latest facilities being offered by private realtors.

It is learnt that GMADA had also proposed that in future it would only go in for flats instead of allotting individual plots. 


n Farmers of Sector 81 to get plots under oustee quota

n Landowners of Sectors 88 and 89 to get compensation worth Rs 1.7 crore per acre

n A 250-acre group housing scheme for Zirakpur

n 243 flats for labourers in Phase 6, Mohali

Kajauli pipeline capacity doubled

NK Sharma, Chairman of the District Planning Committee SAS Nagar, said the capacity of the proposed pipeline for Kajauli water works would be doubled from 40 MGD to 80 MGD. He said the pipeline would cater to the demand for water for the entire Mohali city, besides newly developed sectors and residents of Zirakpur and Kharar. The cost of the project was being borne by the Punjab Government and hence, Chandigarh would not have any share in it.



Man escapes as car overturns
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 31
A car driver had a narrow escape when the car he was driving overturned as he lost control of the vehicle and the speeding car hit the railing on the divider of Sectors 7 and 8.

While the mangled remains of Corolla Altis car were towed away, Bhupen, a resident of Sector 20, who was driving the car, did not receive even a scratch.

“I was going towards Sector 2 when suddenly schoolchildren came in front of the car and in confusion instead of applying brakes, I pressed the accelerator,” he said while explaining the reason for the accident.

However, no one injured in the accident.



Special train to Shirdi
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31 
The Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is all set to launch a nine-day tour special train to Shirdi Dham in Maharashtra in December. The train will begin its journey from Chandigarh and halt at Ambala, Saharanpur, Bareily, Shahjadpur, Lucknow and Kanpur before proceeding to Shirdi Dham. This will give city people an opportunity to board the train from all the pick-up stations mentioned above.

The nine-day tour will begin from Chandigarh on December 14 and will be concluded here by December 23. Officials of the IRCTC have designed the tour package this time with a host of amenities.

“Any passenger willing to pay Rs 4,617 can get a berth for himself in the special train to Shirdi Dham. The train will be well-guarded and the passengers will be served meals, including bed tea. The cost of meals and local sightseeing is included in the cost of the ticket,” said RK Sondh, chief regional  manager, IRCTC.

“The passengers can get the tickets booked by visiting the website of the IRCTC. We had received overwhelming response in the previous trips and we are hopeful that a good number of passengers will turn up this winter season also,” he added.
The IRCTC official informed that passengers in this train would get a chance to visit all three “Jyotirlingas” during the Bharat Darshan. 

He said the passengers during the nine-day tour would get a chance to visit places like Bodhgaya, Jagannath Puri and Tirupati Balaji. Besides, the passengers would also have a chance to visit various tourist destination en route to the Shirdi Dham and back.



PGI dept launches four special clinics
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation headed by Prof MS Dhillon and under the patronage of the new director PGI Prof Yogesh Chawla has launched four special clinics to upgrade the patient support systems at PGI.

These super-specialisation clinics are unique as they do not exist in any centre in our region and have been formulated on International models which are running successfully worldwide.

The PGI has now got excellent trained specialists in these areas, and the PMR Department has started these as an inter-departmental initiative to improve patient care.

The new clinics included the Spine Clinic: Back School: Fridays 2:30-400 pm; Sports Injury Rehab Clinic: Saturdays 10-12 am; Cerebral Palsy Clinic Wednesdays 10-12 am: and CABG Clinic (Thursdays 10 am to 12 noon).

In addition to the successfully running sports injury clinic functional under the orthopaedics department on Thursdays, a Sports Rehab clinic has been initiated that will look after rehabilitation issues of these high performance individuals.

A special clinic for Cerebral Palsy patients has been initiated in continuation with the regular Paediatric Orthopaedic OPDs held on Wednesdays. The clinic is run at present in coordination between the departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist) and Orthopaedics (dedicated Paediatric Orthopaedic surgeons), and will be further extended to include collaboration with dedicated Psychologist and Paediatric Neurologist.



Khali’s confusion residents’ delight
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, October 31
WWE wrestler Great Khali with fans in Zirakpur on Monday. Zirakpur residents were today treated with the presence of International WWE wrestler, Dalip Rana, alias Great Khali, who got lost while on his way to Bathinda for the World Kabaddi Championship, which is scheduled to begin tomorrow. Sources said he mistook the path. After covering a long way, he stopped in Zirakpur where passersby recognised him. After staying there for less than half-an-hour, the local police assisted him on the right way to Bathinda.

WWE wrestler Great Khali with fans in Zirakpur on Monday. A Tribune photograph



ward woes
Ward number 15

Misplaced priorities plague plushy area
Councillor: Harjinder Kaur (Mayor in 2007)

Party: SAD

Ward development fund: Of Rs 130 lakh allotted in the past five years, Rs 111.21 lakh spent till March, 2011.

How techno-savvy your councillor is: Residents have posted their problems on Facebook and sent these via e-mail separately. The councillor had never responded to either to redress grievances.

How many questions has she put in the House in 2010: She has tabled a number of questions in Question Hour during General House meetings.

Ward number 15

It comprises the centrally located sectors 34, 35 and 44. Ignoring the major problem of parking in residential areas of this ward, the authorities are more focused on developing internal parks. The ward has been crying for proper sanitation and a garbage collection system, but no foolproof arrangements have been made for streamlining it by the authorities till date.

Voter population:

Sector 34: 2276

Sector 35: 5508

Sector 44: 9485
(Above) A car stuck in a road left uncarpeted at Sector 44
(Above) A car stuck in a road left uncarpeted at Sector 44
in Chandigarh

The part of a park dug up to instal a water pipe at Sector 44.

Major achievements:

n Instrumental in setting up night food street near PGI

n Approval of site for construction of mahila bhawan

n Setting up basketball court at park in Sec-34

n Starting of a quarterly news letter

Community parking

For past two years, residents of this ward have been requesting the UT administration and the MC to make provisions for setting up community parking in the sector, but nothing has been done till date. As a result, during night hours, it becomes a competition among residents to get parking space. This has frequently resulted in quarrels. The situation is worse in Sector 35 as it has congested roads and most of the open spaces have been converted into small parks. Parking of vehicles in small parks or on paver blocks in this ward is a familiar sight as there is no space earmarked by the authorities for parking vehicles in residential areas.

Sanitation services

It seems that the MC is least bothered to arrange proper sanitation services in the ward even after a number of reminders have been given by residents. Due to this, a majority of internal parks which have been beautified by spending lakhs have been turned into garbage collection centres in the ward. Though residents keep complaining about the frequent absence of sweepers in the area, the authorities turn a deaf ear to the complaints. They neither take any action, nor make other arrangements for the convenience of residents.

Condition of internal parks

Due to the shortage of parking space in the ward, a majority of the internal parks have turned into temporary parking places in Sectors 35 and 44. Though the residents have stressed the requirement of parking lots rather than internal parks in a number of representations to the authorities, no action has been initiated at the administrative level in this regard. Adding to the woes of the ward is the non-deployment of the staff by the horticulture department for the maintenance of these parks regularly.

Bad quality and recarpeting of roads: Huge potholes, caved-in sections and patches of repair work bear testimony to the havoc wreaked on roads. This is the condition of those roads which have recently been re-carpeted by the MC in the ward. Under these circumstances, it is difficult for residents to commute smoothly in the dug-up areas, which have become accident-prone. The visitors, particularly in vehicles, have a bumpy ride on these roads, which have developed a number of potholes.

Stray dogs

The MC keeps publicising and taking credit that it organises regular camps to sterilise stray dogs to check their number in the city by spending lakhs. The truth is that there is no improvement in the problem in the ward. In fact, with the passage of time, this problem has assumed alarming proportions as the number of stray dogs has increased in the area.

Low water pressure

Residents of Sector 44 face acute shortage of water though the pumping station is in their area. The supply is low as no booster has been installed by the authorities at the pumping station. Residents have complained about it to the MC a number of times, but in vain.



Panel sans ACRs sent back
Chandigarh tells Haryana to fix error
Rajinder Nagarkoti
tribune news service

Chandigarh, October 31
The Chandigarh Administration has sent back the panel of three IPS officers sent by the Haryana government for the post of SP (Traffic) as the state government has committed a major mistake by not submitting the annual confidential reports (ACRs) of these three officers.

Sources revealed that the UT Administration had informed the Haryana government to either submit the complete ACRs of these three IPS officers or send a fresh panel with required documents.

The Haryana government had sent the panel of Maneesh Chaudhary (Deputy Commissioner of Police, Panchkula), Hemant Kalson (SP Vigilance) and Rajender Kumar (SP Crime).

With the recent development, these three IPS officers had started the process to timely submit their ACRs till 2010 to the Haryana government so that the government could forward these copies of ACRs to the UT Afministration.

Earlier, the UT Administration had raised objections in the earlier panel of three IPS officers, Sibhash Kabiraj, Saurabh Singh and Rajender Kumar. Thereafter, the Haryana government had sent the fresh panel.

The government had sent the panel to replace earlier SP (Traffic) Hardeep Singh Doon, who had joined the Chandigarh Police as SP (Traffic) on July 30, 2008, and got promoted to SSP in February this year. His tenure ended on July 30. At present, DIG Alok Kumar was holding charge of SP (Traffic).

A senior UT official said sending ACRs of the officers was a must while forwarding a panel to the UT Administration. In this case, the state government had not submitted ACRs and therefore, the administration had informed the Haryana government to complete the documents of these three IPS officers.

In Haryana, there were a number of IPS and IAS officers whose ACRs had not been completed. In a few cases, ACRs of officers were pending for more than five years.



Vivekananda Express arrives in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Vivekananda Express, the special exhibition train showcasing the life and philosophy of Swami Vivekananda, arrived at the railway station this morning. The train was launched in January this year by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on the eve of the 150th birth centenary of Swami Vivekananda.

Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh Palli, Special Secretary (Finance) CS Talwar and Ramakrishna Mission general secretary Swami Anant Atmananda were among those who inaugurated the four-day exhibition in the five-boggie train near platform 1. An exhibition-cum-sale of books was being organised near the train.

“The train was launched by the Railways at Howrah with a view to disseminate Swami Vivekananda’s legacy among the younger generation. His signatures and some of his sayings are also on display,” said a senior Northern Railway official.

The exhibition threw light on the life and achievements of Swami Vivekananda. It had six coaches, in which photographs, write-ups and other exhibits were on display. Two other coaches contained rare photographs and archival material.

Black-and-white images of Swami Vivekananda’s brothers, Mahendranath Dutta and Bhupendranath Dutta, his ancestral house, the grand reception hosted for him at Calcutta in 1897 and disciples of Ramakrishna Paramhansa soon after his demise were among those on display.

The official added, “The train has arrived from Ambala and will remain at the local railway station till November 3. Then it will move to Kalka for four days, before leaving for Patiala on November 7. The train will also go to Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jammu before ending its year-long journey at Varanasi in January next.”



Manual traffic management is history now
 Madhya Marg back to automatic system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
With traffic jams becoming the order of the day in the city, the Chandigarh Traffic Police has decided to stop the manual system of operating traffic lights during peak hours. Effective tomorrow, all traffic signals on the Madhya Marg will be operating as per the automatic system of traffic lights.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Vijay Kumar said they were reverting to the old system on a trial basis as it had been observed that the manual system results in jams and clogging of roads.

“Traffic lights at the Fun Republic, Housing Board, railway station, transport and Government Press light points on the Madhya Marg will operate as per the old system and we have decided to put an end to the manual system,” he said adding that all these traffic lights would now be operating during peak hours too.

As per the manual system, the traffic lights used to be switched off and a traffic cop on all four sides of an intersection used to manage the traffic keeping in view the rush of vehicles. The manual system was initiated two years ago by then SP Traffic HS Doon with an aim to reduce traffic jams.

A traffic policeman was deployed at all traffic light points on the Madhya Marg to manage the heavy flow of traffic coming from four sides at an intersection.

The cop deployed used to adjust time provided for vehicles to pass according to the volume of traffic. The system failed to provide any respiote from jams, as a result of which cops had decided to revert to the old system.



Lighting flop show hits Chhat festivities
tribune news service

Chandigarh, October 31
The special arrangements made by the UT Administration for Chhat Puja at the Sector-42 lake were ruined when the special lighting arrangements on the one side of the lake became non-functional.
Workers carry out repairs on Monday.
Workers carry out repairs on Monday. tribune photo: vicky gharu

Thought streetlights and other lights were functional, the specially decorated look of the lake was not visible due to the non-functioning of these decoration lights.

The puja, which started on Sunday, was attended by a number of people from Purvanchal on Monday. The UT administration had made proper security arrangements for the puja as well.

Chhat Puja, a tradition of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, had become a visible and elaborate festival in Chandigarh due to migration from these regions. It was performed after Diwali every year. Devotees worshipped both the rising and the setting sun at the Sector-42 lake.

lake shining bright, with men at work

The lake at Sector 42 in Chandigarh is decked up for Chhat Puja (above); and workers carry out repairs on Monday. tribune photos: vicky gharu



‘Kidnapped’ teenager back after fortnight
 Had concocted story
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
A fortnight after a teenager was allegedly kidnapped for ransom from Kajheri, the police traced the 17-year-old boy from Mohali today. It turned out that the boy had concocted a story of his kidnapping as he was not on good terms with his father and needed money.

The boy demanded a ransom of Rs 15 lakh, posing as a kidnapper, from his family. Sarabjit Singh, a student of Government School at Kajheri, left his residence at 3.30 pm on October 19.

He failed to return home and his father received an SMS at 5.30 pm, which read that he should arrange an amount of Rs 15 lakh as ransom for the release of his son.

His father, Paramjit Singh, who was into the dyeing of fabrics at Kajheri, informed the police, which swung into action.

Sub-inspector Jaswinder Kaur, in charge of the Sector-43 police post, said the police rounded up his friend Sajid and asked him to call the boy.

Sarabjit was then told by Sajid that his girlfriend was seriously ill and he should return. The boy returned, on which he was nabbed by the police and handed over to his parents.

He then told the police that he had concocted the story as his father used to beat him up often and he needed money.



Winter round corner, brings bad news for some
 Woollens join pricey brigade; prices of blankets and quilts rise, not incomes
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
With mercury continuing to dip, spiralling prices of woollens, including quilts and blankets, have made it increasingly tough for the poor to beat the chill and survive the winter.
Roadside vendors prepare quilts at Sector 22 in Chandigarh on Monday.
Roadside vendors prepare quilts at Sector 22 in Chandigarh on Monday. tribune photo: s chandan

Even as the more fortunate ones go to sleep in their cozy homes, hundreds of homeless and destitute people will have to brave the freezing conditions under the sky.

Food items that keep them warm during winter, like peanuts and eggs, have already gone out of the reach of the common man.

The minimum temperature has already dipped from 17 degree Celsius to 13 degree Celsius during the past two weeks, forcing people to take out their woollens, especially at night.

Though the prices of blankets and quilts go up by between 10 and 15 per cent every year, most incomes do not rise at the same pace.

Says Harman Singh, a wholesale dealer in blankets, quilts and other woollens, “The demand for blankets and quilts has jumped manifold the previous week in view of the decrease in minimum temperature.”

An ordinary blanket, available for Rs 350 in 2010, is now being sold at Rs 400. A good-quality mink blankets, available for around Rs 2,000 the previous year, is being sold at Rs 2,250. A high-end quilt, sold at Rs 3,200 in 2010, is now being sold at Rs 3,500.

Sunita Sharma, a housewife residing in Sector 20, says they prefer to go in for ginning of old cotton in quilts to meet the cold weather conditions.

She says the daily budget has already been hit by the steep increase in prices of essential items, including vegetables and milk products, and it has become tough to purchase new woollens.



...And good for others
 Winged guests are back again
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
With winter setting in, winged guests from foreign lands have started flocking the Sukhna Lake and the adjoining 190-odd water bodies in the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.

The birds that have reached here so far included Brahmi duck, common coot, grey heron and grey leggy and pochard. Around 325 different species of migratory birds reach the Chandigarh Bird Region every year.

These include several local wetlands like the Ghaggar area, the Morni hills, Jayanti Dam, Botanical Garden, Patiala ki Rao and Siswan Dam.

“Being a major tourist spot of the region, watching migratory birds at the Sukhna Lake is the major attraction for many bird lovers,” says Saurabh Kumar, Deputy Conservator of Forests.

He adds that though it is difficult to count the birds, their number has been increasing here as the Chandigarh Bird Region provides them the perfect environment for breeding and food.

According to an estimate, around 20,000 birds reach the lake and the sanctuary every year and stay here till end of March.

Like the previous year, the UT forest department is making arrangements to set up display panels at various points at the Sukhna and other printed material to provide detailed information of these birds. These generally come here from Siberia, the higher Himalayan region, Afghanistan and colder parts of Russia.

Other species which come here include red-crusted pochard, marsh duck, grebe, goose, shell duck, diving duck, rail, cormorant, Siberian duck, stilt, hill kingfisher, mallard, pintail, crane, stork and sandpiper.

Like every year, there will be a complete ban on poaching, loud music and bursting of crackers in the areas surrounding the lake and the sanctuary.

“These are our special guests and nothing that can disturb their lifestyle will be allowed,” says Saurabh.



Stress on heritage preservation

Chandigarh, October 31
A seminar on the concept of heritage and its modern day relevance was organised at Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, today by the Prevention and Preservation of Heritage Society.

Dr Benudhar Patra, an eminent historian, spoke on the significance of physical and non-physical heritage and highlighted the importance of both.

Stressing on the concept of rich cultural heritage of India, Dr Shyam Sunder, former principal of the college, highlighted the need of imbibing and protecting cultural values, as they are helpful in improving living conditions of modern man.

Dr SK Rai, coordinator of the society, emphasised on the preservation of heritage. — TNS



Awareness on working, duties of police officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
As a part of the Global Police Week celebrations, schoolchildren and residents today visited police stations of Sectors 3, 26 and 36 to assess the services delivered in these stations.

Around 20 countries are participating in the Police Station Visit Week (PSVW) organised by the Atlus Global Alliance. The police station visit kit has been developed keeping in view the diverse nature of conditions existing in different countries of the world while adhering to the basic international standards. The assessment tool is in general enough to accommodate local specific conditions.

Today, approximately 100 girls of Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, and 20 members of the Resident Welfare Associations (RWA), including panchayat of Kaimbala village, visited the Sector 3 police station. Around 200 girl students of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, and 50 members of the Resident Welfare Associations visited the Sector 36 police station. In addition, 60 students of the NCC naval wing, Sector 26, and 40 RWA members visited the sector 26 police station. They all were apprised about the working and duties of police officials.



nursery admissions
Confusion prevails over age criterion
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Hundreds of parents are confused over the fact that whether the age of three-year-olds applying for nursery admissions should be calculated from September of the year of child’s application or from July of the same year.

The matter is still pending in the court. To complicate the issue for parents, private schools have commenced the sale of forms from today onwards.

The DPI (Schools) said the matter was pending in the court, so the administration would plea for an early direction in the matter for clarifying the parents. At the same time, HS Mamik, president of the Independent Schools’ Association, said, “The RTE clearly says the age criteria for admission to Class I was six years. This clearly meant that we could admit a child to nursery class when he was three. So, there is no confusion on the issue.”

Sneh Gupta, a computer professional, said, “We have purchased the form for admission of our son, however, we don’t know whether he qualified for nursery class or not. He turned three in August this year.”

Ryan International started the sale of forms from today onwards and only 16 parents had registered their wards till afternoon. More schools are expected to make the announcements by the weekend. Interestingly, there is no news on the admission from certain top convent schools, including St John’s, Sacred Heart and Carmel Convent.

HS Mamik said the RTE clearly stated that a child should be of six years of age when he goes to Class I and that can only be possible when a child is admitted to nursery at the age of three. “A child should be three-year-old on April 1 to study in nursery class and this age criteria is being worked out according to the RTE directions,” Mamik said.

One of the parents, who have planned to admit their ward to nursery class, said they were anxious as what would be considered the age for nursery admission. “We are confused, as although the schools have fixed their own age criteria, the final decision depends on the court’s judgment. We will have to purchase the admission forms and wait till there is clarity over the age for admission,” a parent said.

“Although the admission process to nursery has begun in private schools, we are hopeful of getting a clear guideline over the age criteria before the forms are scrutinised,” the DPI said.

Hans admitted that there is confusion among the parents over the age for admitting the children to nursery, following which the department is going to request the court to get to a conclusion before the admissions begins.



PUSU fasts for players’ cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
Irked over the facilities provided to sportspersons by Panjab University, members of the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) today sat on an indefinite hunger strike.

Earlier, PUSU members, along with sportspersons had a meeting with the PU authorities over their demands, however, the dialogues between the two had failed to resolve the issue, following which two students decided to go on the hunger strike.

The major demands raised by the sportspersons included increasing TA-DA given to them by the university, better quality of sports kits, re-soiling of sports ground to save sportspersons from injuries while playing, non-functional floodlights to be made functional for enabling sportspersons to practice even during late evening hours.

It must be mentioned that PUSU had raised their demands earlier also, which were put forward to them by sportspersons at a Senate meeting two weeks ago. They also gave representation to the Vice-Chancellor, following which they were assured that their demands would be met at the ealiest.

Sukhjit Singh Brar, president PUSU, informed, “We had adopted a dialogue theory to get our demands fulfilled and waited for over two weeks after raising the demands, but still the university failed to address our demands, following which we had to launch a protest,” Brar said.



‘PU is not centrally funded’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
“Panjab University is an inter-state body corporate and not a centrally funded university and the goal is yet to be achieved,” cleared Panjab University Teachers’ Association’s (PUTA) secretary Khalid Mohhamed at a general body meeting held to discuss the status of PU and CAS promotions.

Referring to a letter received from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Khalid said the MHRD had made it clear that PU was not a centrally funded university.

Speaking on the demand of enhancement of retirement age from 60 to 65 years, Khalid said when PUTA contacted MHRD seeking status of the letter sent by PU over the enhancement of retirement age, they were told PU had not sent any letter.

“We asked for the letter sent to MHRD from PU and the same was again sent to MHRD by us, however, they replied that the letter was contradictory,” Khalid said.

Khalid said the letter mentioned that PU’s demand for enhancement of retirement age would only be considered when the Syndicate and Senate of the university cleared the demand.

The meeting witnessed heated arguments over the discussion of Academic Performance Index (API) with teachers from sciences department disagreeing to the idea mooted by Karamjeet Singh from the UBS department for framing API policy.

Singh had stated that the points awarded to teachers under API should be proportionally divided among the teachers if there is more than one teacher involved in some project or guiding a research scholar.

However, MC Sidhu and Ashwani Koul from the sciences department objected to Singh’s statement claiming that when there is more than one teacher involved in projects or guiding a researcher then all teachers should get equal number of points for their work.

“There are projects in the sciences department that need coordination among teachers, following which all teachers should get equal points for their contribution,” Koul said at the meeting.

The pending cases of career advancement scheme (CAS) were also discussed during the meeting.



hike in diet charges
PU authorities fail to arrive at conclusion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 31
The PU authorities and Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) today held a meeting over the hike in diet charges at hostels. Mess contractors have been demanding a hike since the beginning of the session following which a meeting was called by the Dean, Student Welfare, (DSW).

The authorities could not reach a conclusion as the student leaders objected to the hike proposed by the university.

PUCSC president Pushpinder Sharma said the mess contractors had proposed to hike in the charges by Rs 6, which was unjustified. “The move would add to the burden of students,” PUCSC president said.

He said the student council had proposed a maximum hike of Rs 2. He added that if the authorities hiked the mess charges, they would launch an agitation.

DSW AS Ahluwalia said the university would hike the diet charges after taking students into consideration. “The hike quoted by the mess contractors is too high, we are trying to settle the hike according to the price rise,” Ahluwalia said.

Although the university authorities could not reach a conclusion, another meeting has been called later this week to finalise the new rates. The diet charges were increased by Rs 2 in November last year. 



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