C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC poll on December 17
4,75,715 voters to exercise their franchise in 26 wards
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Rakesh Mehta , State Election Commissioner, shows a copy of guidelines for the model code of conduct for political parties and candidates in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, November 1
Elections to the fourth general house of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) will be held on December 17. With the announcement of the elections, the code of conduct came into effect from today.

Announcing this here today, UT State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta said approximately 4,75,715 voters, spread over 26 wards in the city, would be eligible to cast their votes. Apart from the 26 wards from where one elected representative each would be elected, another nine persons would be nominated by the UT Administrator. In addition, the sitting MP is also a member of the House.

For the free and fair conduct of the elections, the Election Commissioner said 450 polling stations would be set up. The State Election Commissioner said the process of verification for setting up polling booths had begun and would be finalised within the next three weeks. The Election Commission has appointed seven returning officers for the 26 wards.

Reacting to a query about sensitive booths in the city, the Election Commissioner said they had asked the police to prepare and provide a detailed report to the election commission. The police, he said, had been asked to provide cops at all polling stations on the polling day.

An Election Commission official said the verification of sites for polling stations in ward numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 spread across Sectors 1 to 17, Sectors 22 to 24 and Sector 36 and Khudda Lahora Colony had been completed. The proposed lists of these polling stations had been published and would be pasted on the notice boards of respective returning officers. Residents can submit their objections or suggestions from November 9 to 12, which is the last date for filing objections.

The Election Commissioner said all education institutes and government and non-government organisations would remain closed on the polling day. Revealing about the election arrangements, he said the police department had already been asked to provide police force at all polling stations on the election day.

Code of conduct in force

After the announcement of the election date, the code of conduct has been implemented in the city, meaning that there will be no announcement of any new schemes or projects during this period.

Expenditure limit raised to ~1.75 lakh

Keeping in view inflation, the expenditure limit for each candidate has been increased from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.75 lakh. Candidates will need to maintain accounts in the prescribed manner and submit these to the respective returning officers within a fortnight of the declaration of the election results.

Four counting centres

The State Election Commission has yet to finalise the counting date of the votes. Four counting centres have been finalised. These are: Government Senior Secondary school, Sector 10; Government College for Education, Sector 20; Government College for Girls, Sector 11 and the Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11. At each centre, votes of seven wards would be counted.

No MC official to be on duty

To avoid favouritism during the election process of the Municipal Corporation election, no official of the corporation would be deployed on election duty. Election observers will be appointed by the Election Commission to keep a check on any violation of the code of conduct.

Concerns over low voter turnout

The Election Commissioner found it strange that in a city like Chandigarh where the literacy rate was very high, the voter turnout during elections was very low. Referring to the past three elections in the MC, including 1996, 2001 and 2006, the State Election Commissioner said that records showed that the lowest voting turnout was in 2001 (31.80 per cent) and the highest in 1996 (45.77 per cent). In 2006, the voter turnout was 45.12 per cent.

‘Colonies, villages voters active’

In the 2006 MC elections, seven wards, including ward numbers 6, 7, 12, 19, 23, 24 and 26, recorded a voter turnout of over 50 per cent, whereas the lowest turnout was in ward number 1, comprising Sector 1 to 11, which incidentally are the most literate residents of the city, observed the State Election Commissioner.

Tribune Impact

Responding to a report published in Chandigarh Tribune today regarding confusion of areas of Ward numbers 25 and 26, the Election Commissioner said directions had been issued to election officials to prepare a list of all wards and release it to the public by November 3, 2011.



Khushpreet case: Negligent officials may face demotion
Reduction in rank notice issued to 2 inspectors, sub-inspector
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Two police inspectors and a Sub Inspector found guilty of negligence in handling the Khushpreet kidnapping-for-ransom case that had shook the city early this year may lose their current rank and face demotion as senior police officials have issued a ‘reduction in rank’ notice to the three policemen five months after a departmental inquiry indicted them of negligence.

Inspector Udey Pal Singh, former SHO of the Sector 34 police station, Inspector Narinder Patial, then in-charge of Burail police post, and Investigating Officer Sub Inspector Balraj Singh have been issued a show cause notice asking them to explain why their current ranks should not be reduced.

This is for the first time that senior police officials have acted against the negligent cops ever since an earlier departmental inquiry, conducted by DSP Kulwant Singh Pannu, indicted the three policemen of negligence while handling the case. The inquiry report was submitted on June 22 this year.

All the three officers were earlier suspended following a magisterial probe in January this year and were reinstated in May. On October 14, the Police Complaint Authority (PCA) too criticised the police for not taking any action against the three officers despite the fac that they were indicted in both a magisterial and a departmental probe.

Sources said the three policemen have been asked to reply to the notice within 15 days, following which the matter will be taken up for further course of action by senior officials. The three were found guilty of taking the ransom calls lightly in the beginning, which resulted in delayed police action. Both the inquiry reports had indicted Inspector Udey Pal Singh, Inspector Narinder Singh Patial and Sub Inspector Balraj Singh and had pointed to culpabilities of the police officers for mishandling the kidnapping-for-ransom case.

The case

Five-year-old Khushpreet was kidnapped for ransom from his residence in Burail on December 21. The family received a ransom call demanding Rs 10 lakh, which was later reduced to Rs 4 lakh. A police trap laid to arrest the kidnappers failed and the kidnappers fled from right under the very nose of the policemen on December 22. Khushpreet’s body was found in a pit in Mohali on January 5. The case was solved in March with the arrest of three persons, comprising two brothers and a servant, who turned out to be Khuspreet’s neighbours.

What they were guilty of?

  • Inspector Udeypal SinghInspector Udeypal Singh, then SHO, Police Station, Sector 34, met Khushpreet’s family 19 hours after they had informed the police regarding the first ransom call. The process of organising teams to work with the family started 21 hours after the first ransom call was received. While the family was receiving ransom calls and pleading with the police for help, Udaypal Singh instead was busy in a meeting on tree plantation at the Sector 34 police station with Deputy Inspector General of Police, Alok Kumar.

  • Inspector Narinder Patial (then in charge Burail police post) took time to reach the police post when the family had alleged that they received a ransom call. The FIR was registered late and his attitude speaks of callousness. The first ransom call was received at 4.22 pm, the proceedings for lodging the FIR were started after 9 pm.

  • Sub Inspector Balraj Singh (investigating officer) was the first officer to learn about Khushpreet having gone missing. Balraj Singh got a DDR lodged, but did not note down the details of the family or even their phone numbers. From 4 pm to 7 pm, he claims he was looking for the missing child but neither did he have the child’s picture nor of any family member. Even after learning that the family had received a ransom call, he took another two hours to contact them.

Reply sought in 15 days

  • The three policemen have been asked to reply to the notice within 15 days, following which the matter will be taken up for further course of action by senior officials. The three were found guilty of taking the ransom calls lightly in the beginning, which resulted in delayed police action. Both the inquiry reports had indicted Inspector Udey Pal Singh, Inspector Narinder Singh Patial and Sub Inspector Balraj Singh.


City paints ‘Green Diwali’ campaign black
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The city witnessed the most polluted Diwali this year compared to the last two years, sending the “Green Diwali” campaign for a toss. According to the data collected by the UT Pollution Control Board, the most polluted part of the city was Sector 29 with the respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) level at a high of 342 micrograms per cubic metre (mpcm) against the permissible limit of 60. This was higher than 304 mpcm recorded in 2010 and a mere 84 mcpm recorded in 2009. This, in turn, reflected 11.11 per cent rise in air pollution level compared to 2010 and a whopping 75.4 per cent rise compared to 2009.

This year’s data of ambient air quality on Diwali showed that at all seven places where pollution detection equipment had been installed i.e. Sector 22, Kaimbwala village, Panjab University, Sector 29, Kajheri village, Manimajra and Sector 9 there was more RSPM level on Diwali compared to the last two years.

Interestingly, this year Kaimbwala village, located near the Sukhna lake, recorded the lowest air and noise pollution level from among the seven points. Though Kaimbwala recorded 15 per cent more air pollution compared to last year, the area witnessed an RSPM level of 154 mpcm. The noise pollution in Kaimbwala was the lowest at 65 dB(A).

The Panjab University area, which had recorded the minimum air pollution with RSPM level at 102 mpcm last year, witnessed a 34.6 per cent growth this Diwali with an RSPM level of 154 mpcm.

The Sector 22 area came second this time, with the RSPM level at 301 mpcm, recording a 16.6 per cent increase in air pollution compared to 251 mpcm last Diwali.



Army man’s pregnant wife commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
An army man’s eight months pregnant wife, Devika (22), was found hanging from the ceiling fan of her room under mysterious circumstances at Chandi Mandir Cantonment here today.

The police took the body into its custody. A team from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory visited the scene and lifted fingerprints from the deceased’s room.

A case under Section 306, IPC, has been registered at the Chandi Mandir police station. The reason behind the incident was not known.

A post-mortem examination was conducted at the General Hospital, Sector 6, and the body was handed over to the family members.

The incident came to light when her husband, Army man’s pregnant wife commits suicide lance naik Raj Durai of 16th Engineering Battalion, who was asleep in the another room, found her body hanging from the ceiling fan with a saree.

He informed his seniors, who further informed the police, which took the body into its custody.

The police said the deceased’s one-and-half-year-old son was also sleeping with her in the room when she took the extreme step.

Her husband told the police that they were to leave for their native place this evening by train, the seats for which had already been reserved.



N-choe in five months, says MC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Nearly one-and-a-half years after The Tribune raised a storm over sanitation concerns going down the drain, the Municipal Corporation today claimed sludge would not flow into the N-choe in another five months.

The assertion before the Bench of Acting Chief Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Rajiv Narain Raina came in the form of an affidavit filed by the MC Superintending Engineer R.C. Diwan.

He claimed the process of laying a sewer parallel to the N-choe, and the construction of a pump chamber near Sector 52-53, would be complete in five months. A gravity sewer in Sector 50-51 too would be commissioned in a week’s time.

After that, sludge would not flow into the N-choe, as it would be collected into the pump chamber and further pumped into the main sewerage system, Diwan claimed.

On September 28, Diwan had told the High Court that the work of laying the sewer parallel to the N-choe was likely to be completed in the next six months and 20 per cent of it was complete. Similarly, the construction of a pump chamber near Sector 52 and 53 required six months. It claimed the process of laying the gravity sewer in Sector 50 was 80 per cent complete. The N-choe originates from Shanti Kunj in Sector 3 and enters Mohali after passing through various sectors. The news report in these columns was earlier directed to be treated as a public interest litigation. The then Chief Justice, Justice Mukul Mudgal, had observed: “Le Corbusier, who planned the City Beautiful, wanted to retain the water body to keep the residents of the city in contact with nature.

“The Choe is a seasonal rivulet and the water flowing through it without there being rains for long makes one curious about the origin of water flowing through it”.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a news report carried in these columns, Chief Justice Mudgal had also asked the Administration to specify “The steps contemplated to improve the condition of the choe”. The news report was also directed to be treated as a public interest litigation.

The Chief Justice observed: Chandigarh Tribune pullout of The Tribune of Tuesday, April 5, 2010, Chandigarh Edition, on the first page has published a report captioned N-Choe: Stream of Filth with Chandigarh’s Shame as a sub-title thereof.

“Sanjeev Singh Bariana, author of the report, has drawn the attention of the readers to the pitiable condition of the N-Choe that originates from behind the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It is further reported that after acquiring a repelling look in Sector 10, it becomes sickening in Sector 42 and nauseating near the PCA stadium in Mohali.”



Traffic congestion
Panchkula to get 2 more road routes
Consensus at meeting of senior officials
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, November 1
The fast-emerging town of Panchkula is set to get two alternative routes, a development that will take off traffic load from the busy Madhya Marg connecting it with Chandigarh.

One additional route will link the Industrial Area in Chandigarh with the road separating Sectors 17 and 18 at Panchkula, parallel to the Chandigarh-Kalka road.

The second new route from the Ambala-Chandigarh road (National Highway 21) will link Panchkula with the airport and the Industrial Area, Chandigarh.

Finance Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, VK Singh, who has been taking up the issue of providing new routes with the Union Ministry of Railways and the Haryana Government, told The Tribune today that work on the second alternative would begin soon with the railways also “favourably inclined” to the project.

The Chandigarh Administration has already constructed a part of the second alternative route from the NH-21 (short of railway line) and it could be completed by constructing an underpass under the railway line and the widening of the roads in the Industrial Area (Phase-II) of Panchkula.

The southern sectors of Chandigarh and the areas beyond Chandigarh like Mohali would be major beneficiaries of the second route. As a major portion of the alignment for route number one is located either on the railway property in Chandigarh, or in Chandigarh area, this issue is finalised for seeking clearance from the Union Ministry of Railways for the construction of the overbridge and construction of the road through the railway land for providing access to Panchkula, sources said.

A broad consensus on the construction of the two alternative routes to Panchkula was reached at a recent meeting of senior officials, including Chief Secretaries, under the chairmanship of Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishana here.

At the meeting, Principal Secretary, Town and Country Planning, Haryana, SS Dhillon, in his presentation on “Development scenario on the periphery of Chandigarh, (Haryana portion) had underlined the need for the construction of the two routes for the smooth flow of traffic from the region to Panchkula.

Mohali vs Panchkula

At present, Madhya Marg connecting Chandigarh with Panchkula virtually serves as the lifeline of the rapidly expanding township. While there are only a couple of other less-frequented routes, including via IT park, Chandigarh, to Panchkula, Mohali seems to be more privileged as far as connectivity is concerned. There are at least a dozen routes connecting Mohali with Chandigarh.



Swan song
Mayor gloats over achievements, skirts failures
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Contrary to the claims made by the MC Mayor, Ravinder Pal Singh, of ensuring sanitation and carrying out development works in villages and colonies falling in the Union Territory, garbage continues to pile up as the municipal corporation fails to clear it at Burail village in Sector 45; and (below) an unpaved lane in Colony No. 5, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, November 1
Highlighting the achievements of the municipal corporation during his tenure, MC Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh today said special sanitation campaigns were launched especially in villages and colonies for the convenience of residents.

Addressing his farewell media conference, with the election code coming into play, the outgoing Mayor claimed that he had created history by re-carpeting 200 km of road during his tenure of just seven months.

He said besides sanitation, concrete paver blocks were laid in colonies and villages for the convenience of residents.

He claimed that development projects worth at least Rs 100 crore were completed.

He, however, admitted that the MC’s Facebook profile, which was launched amidst much fanfare, had not given the desired results. The Mayor said the IT department was working towards making it ‘people-friendly’.

The Mayor lamented that a number of General House meetings had to be adjourned because of ruckus created by the opposition.

Taking a serious note of the non-functioning of the garbage processing plant at Dadu Majra, he said a civic team was monitoring the working of the plant and if the problem of foul smell persisted by November 15, a termination notice would be issued to the company to shut down the plant in the next six months.

Reality check

A reality check by the Tribune team of different colonies and villages belied the tall claims made by the outgoing Mayor.

Heaps of garbage could be seen in different localities of Sector 25 colony, Dhanas, Dadu Majra, Maloya and Burail, corroborating repeated complaints by residents regarding poor sanitation in their areas.

A number of internal roads in these areas showed huge potholes, caved-in sections and broken patchwork.


  • Approval of two sites for banquet hall at Hallo Majra and Mani Majra
  • Installation of 15 tubewells, increasing water supply by 1.5 MGD
  • Development of 12 green belts and installation of 18 fountains
  • Inauguration of martyrs’ pillar in Sector 33


  • No new community parking proposal approved
  • Failure to construct an e-sampark centre and a Sehaj Safai Kendra in each sector, as promised
  • Failure to moot a proposal in the House on giving MC’s community centre free of cost to BPL families for marrying their daughters



Chandigarh Scan
Gita Diwas

To inculcate moral values among schoolchildren, the local chapter of Sri Gita Prachar Samiti organised “Gita Diwas Sammaroh” at the Shikhya School of Learning, Sector 46-A, in collaboration with the Haryana Sanskrit Academy, Panchkula, here. Nearly 190 students participated in the event. Sudhir Kumar, director, Haryana Sanskrit Academy, was the chief guest, while Sonia Channi, school principal, presided over the event.


The installation ceremony of the Interact Club of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36-D, was held on the school premises on Monday. Rotary Club president KK Walia, former president HS Saggu and Rtns Navjeet Aulakh, Inderjeet Singh and Rajneesh Gupta were present on the occasion.


The following have been elected office-bearers of the Mahasha Welfare Sabha: president- Jit Raj Salgotra; senior vice-president- Mohinder Pal More; vice-president- Mangal Sen; general secretary- Rattan Chand Pandotra; and finance secretary- Ravinder Kumar.


The following have been elected as office-bearers of the Chandigarh Government Retired Teachers’ Welfare Association: patrons- Brahmjeet Kalia, RS Saroya and Dr Gulzar Singh; chairman- principal Jagdish Kumar; president- principal Bahadur Singh; general secretary- Sumesh Verma; joint secretary- Prem Dass; and cashier- RC Saini.

Additional charge

The Chandigarh Administration has given the charge of post of joint secretary health and medical education and research to Sub-Divisional Magistrate (East), Tanvi Garg, with immediate effect in addition to her own duties.

Police station visit week

On the second day of the Global Police Station Visit Week, students of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, and 45 members of Market Welfare Association of Sector 36 visited the Sector 36 police station and took a round of the police station. In addition, 125 students of Government Model High School, Sector 26, and 50 senior citizens visited the Sector 26 police station, while 100 students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, and 20 members of Market Welfare Associations of Sectors 8, 9 and 10 visited the Sector 3 police station. The SHOs welcomed the visitors and showed them the interrogation room, reporting room, women desk room, malkhana, lockup, record room, computer room, wireless room and investigation officer room.


A devotee performs Chhath Puja at the Sector-42 lake in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Media fest from today

Students of the School of Communication Studies (SCS), Panjab University, announced the arrival of their annual media festival - SOCH 2011. The three-day media fest is scheduled to begin from tomorrow and end on November 4. The event invites nation-wide participation and receives an overwhelming response from various students of diverse academic backgrounds.

Prohibitory orders

The District Magistrate has prohibited the public from forming an assembly of five or more persons, taking out processions, making speeches, raising slogans and carrying lathis within 200m radius of all schools and colleges falling within the jurisdiction of the UT for two days, a press release said here on Tuesday. The order will come into force with effect from the zero hour on November 5. The order has been passed keeping in view that a large number of candidates, along with their wards are expected to be present in and around the examination centres on account of the Haryana Teachers Eligibility Test-2011. The ban has been imposed against the possibility of agitation that may disturb public peace and cause riots.

Training camp

The Rotary Club, Chandigarh Central, organised the Rotary Youth Leadership (RYLA), a residential programme for the youth in the age group of 14-21. A total of 111 boys and girls from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh and Taiwan participated in the training camp.


Suvidha centres inspected

Adesh Partap Kairon, Food and Supplies Minister, on Tuesday inspected functioning of the suvidha centres in Mohali. Interacting with mediapersons, he said services at the centres were soon being upgraded from 36 services available across the counter. He said the state government was inclined to provide better services to the citizens. Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roozam said a token machine had been installed at the centre to ensure that the visitors were not harassed.

Youth fest

A two-day Punjab Technical University Inter-College Zonal Youth Festival-2011 began with a bang and enthusiasm on the premises of Rayat and Bahra Institute of Engineering and Biotechnology here on Tuesday. In rangoli, Sakshi of Shivalik College of Pharmacy, Nangal, secured first place, Shweta and Inderpreet Kaur of Gulzar Group of Institute, were adjudged second and Reema of Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology secured third place. In Indian classical solo (instrumental), Gurpreet Singh of Rayat-Bahra College of Engineering and Biotechnology, won laurels. In light vocal (Indian) event, Dikshit of Gian Jyoti secured first place, Ravinder Singh of Rayat-Bahra was adjudged second and Harnoor of Rayat-Bahra College of Engineering and Biotechnology (women) secured third place.

Charges dropped

The Mohali police has dropped charges against Devinder Sandhu, president of Green Earth Society, and other society members. They were booked on September 22 on a complaint lodged by Darshan Singh Kler and others. The charges were dropped on the basis of investigations carried out by SP (Headquarters).

The inquiry official, after taking into consideration the evidence brought on record by both parties, found the charges to be false.

Addressing a press conference, Sandhu said they were in possession of about 84 acres at Karoran village, which they had purchased six or seven years back.


The Punjab government has appointed Dr BS Chandhok as the new district homoeopathy official of Mohali. Dr Chandhok took over the charge of the new district head of the homoeopathic department of Mohali on Tuesday. He was promoted as DHO in December 2009 and was posted earlier at Nawanshar and later as Fatehgarh Sahi

Halloween Day

Students of Canadian School, British Columbia Academy, on Tuesday celebrated Halloween Day. Renee Gallant, principal of Canadian School, hosted the students of Saupin’s School for the Halloween Day celebrations. The Canadian school students exposed the Canadian culture for the students of Saupins’ by organising activities like mummy wrap, pumpkin bowling, face painting, mask making, treasure hunt, obstacle course and pumpkin guts.


Senior Citizens Council

The following have been elected as office-bearers of the Senior Citizens Council: president- CL Malhotra; vice-president- DN Maheshwari; general secretary- JL Davessar; secretary- Nirmal Moudgil; and finance secretary- RM Malhotra. — Tribune Reporters



Missing Snehalaya Children
HC issues notice of motion to UT Administration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Acting on a petition filed in public interest seeking an inquiry by an independent agency such as the CBI for probing the doubtful disappearance of children from Snehalaya, a home for destitutes, Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued a notice of motion to the UT Administration and other respondents for November 23.

The notice was accepted by UT senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal on behalf of the respondents.

In his petition, Panchkula-based advocate Ravinder Singh Dhull has said the incidents of disappearance give rise to the apprehensions of human trafficking. “The angle of human trafficking cannot be denied, at it is a reality of the present times; and the same is also banned by the Constitution under Article 23.”

Claiming the management of Snehalaya to be in a “very bad” shape, Dhull has added several public-spirited persons from the past many years have pointed out “irregularities”. The Administration and other respondents have also been requested many times by them to improve the infrastructure and to protect the children from any unwanted incident. But, such incidents continue.

Quoting examples, the petitioner contended that a 13-year-old was allegedly raped in 2010. “Following the alleged rape, another instance of doubtful disappearance of children and mysterious death of a child also occurred in 2010. Further, as many as six inmates of Snehalaya disappeared from the institute,” he said.

Mysterious death of a six-year-old boy in the PGI was also reported. But this was not the end. He was “surprised to see another report of disappearance of a 10-year-old boy Suraj Kumar from a destitute home near Sector 39, Chandigarh. No genuine efforts were made to trace the child”.

In his petition placed before the Bench of acting Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Rajiv Narain Raina, Dhull claimed that respondents did not bother to increase the security in and around the Snehalayas.

“Again the matter was highlighted by the local media regarding the disappearance of as many as 10 children from the Snehalaya. Accordingly, a special team was constituted to investigate the matter and give a report within two days. A report regarding this was published after a newspaper’s exposure regarding the mysterious disappearance of a 12-year-old boy, Micheal Masih.

“The police acted in a careless manner and the 48-hour deadline was not met,” he said, adding that the police “has been very causal in its approach right from the beginning and many reports regarding this have been published in various newspapers”.



Embezzlement in rla
Admn mulls strict action against erring officials
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The Chandigarh administration is contemplating strict action against officials involved in the embezzlement of funds worth Rs 5.61 lakh in the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) here.

UT Home Secretary Satya Gopal today said he had gone through the inquiry report, prepared by former UT Additional Deputy Commissioner ML Sharma.

“Nobody will be spared if found guilty in the case and we will take strict action in the case,” said Satya Gopal while talking to Chandigarh Tribune.

He indicated at the initiation of a thorough inquiry into the case in a day or two.

A senior official, requesting anonymity, of the Chandigarh administration said the authorities had to lodge FIRs as some contractual staff were also involved in the case.

“As no administrative action will be initiated against them, the FIRs needed to be lodged,” said the official.

In his report, Sharma had also recommended lodging of FIRs against the officials involved in the embezzlement before initiating any further inquiry.

Sharma had submitted his report to the UT Deputy Commissioner last week in which he had unearthed the embezzlement of Rs 5.61 lakh after checking documents over a span of just four months. It was detected that the amount involving certain transactions was not deposited in the treasury by certain officials. “It was just the tip on the iceberg and a proper inquiry will bring out the scam, which may run into crores of rupees,” stated Sharma.

Damning Report

UT Additional Deputy Commissioner ML Sharma had submitted his report, unearthing embezzlement of Rs 5.61 lakh, to the UT Deputy Commissioner last week after scrutinising documents over a span of just four months



Now, jail inmates to learn plumbing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
A month after a cooking course was inaugurated for inmates in the Burail Jail, a six-month plumbing course was inaugurated for the convicts today. Inspector General (Prisons) Alok Kumar inaugurated the course, started in association with the Jan Sikshan Sansthan (JSS). The first batch of 25 inmates will benefit from the course.

Kumar said the course would help inmates become self-dependent once they were released from the prison. “Plumbing is of immense need in society. If a prisoner learns the skills, he can earn his livelihood gracefully,” he said.

The JSS assured of imparting training in latest techniques to the prisoners in association with private players in the field.

Once a prisoner successfully completes the course and acquires the relevant skills of the field work, the prisons department in association with JSS will ensure placement for the person. Further, the facility of loans from different banks at subsidised rates will be provided to the prisoners if the need arises.

The jail department has been running different courses in association with the JSS like tailoring, beauty culture, food presentation for female inmates, and AC and refrigerator repair, motor mechanic and vermi-compost making for male prisoners.



Congress protests land acquisition
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, November 1
Congress workers led by PPCC member Amritpal Singh blocked the Chandigarh-Ambala national highway near Singhpura village for more than an hour today.

They were protesting against the acquisition of 284 acres at Singhpura, Ramgarh Bhudda and Nagla villages by the Punjab government for setting up an urban estate.

The protesters raised slogans against the SAD-BJP combine and blocked the highway from 12 noon to 1 pm.

Hundreds of vehicles were stuck in a traffic jam on both sides of the highway. The traffic police, diverting commuters on alternative routes, had a tough time managing traffic.

The protest ended after duty magistrate Varinder Singh Dhoot and Zirakpur SHO Yogi Raj assured Congress workers of submitting their demand to the Punjab Chief Minister.

Congress leader Jaspal Singh alleged that the state government had been acquiring land to sell it on lower rates to private companies, overlooking their interests.



Staff and infrastructure blues plague Civil Surgeon’s office

Mohali, November 1
The Civil Surgeon’s office is reeling under staff shortage and lack of infrastructure. It is learnt that against the sanctioned strength of 75, the office has only 11 employees. It faces an acute shortage of superintendents, junior assistants and clerks. Pharmacists and other employees from the field staff are called to the office here and imparted the required training so that the work is not affected.

In the absence of a proper building, the office of the Civil Surgeon is housed in a residential complex of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC).

Some of the employees have been accommodated in the PHSC’s office building, while others are functioning from the extended block of the Civil Hospital which adversely affects coordination while dealing with official work. — OC



Mobile phone towers, hospitals may pay more
MC likely to adopt GMADA fee structure
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, November 1
Medical institutions planning to set shop at Zirakpur may soon find themselves paying more for getting building plans cleared. The municipal council (MC) is working out modalities to adopt the GMADA fee structure for preparing building maps.

The MC is also planning to charge fee for the installation of mobile phone towers as per the GMADA fee structure.

The matter is likely to be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting. Many hospitals are expected to come up here in the near future.

An MC official has said the MC has not fixed any building map fee structure for hospitals and other institutions so far.

He has added that GMADA currently charges Rs 14 lakh per acre for a hospital building map.

He has further said the MC charges less from communication companies for installing mobile phone towers.

He has stated that Rs 1 lakh will be charged for installation and Rs 50,000 as annual fee, as per GMADA’s policy.

MC president NK Sharma has said the policy will be sent to the local government department for its approval.



3 more down with dengue

Chandigarh, November 1
Three confirmed cases of dengue were reported in the city today, taking the total number of positive cases, this season, to 56. Two women from Dhanas and PGI campus, and a resident of Sector 8 tested positive for dengue. tns



Open House question

Cycle track, which was a prominent feature of Swiss-born French architect Le Corbusier’s original master plan, did not see the light of the day till UT Administrator OP Verma gave a concrete shape to his dream in 2004. Built extensively on V3 and V4 roads, the tracks have failed to attract any decent number of users and even the tracks are crying for attention of the authorities for their upkeep. Write your response about the existing facility and methods for popularising their use to openhouse@tribunemail.com



166 vehicles challaned

Chandigarh, November 1
The Chandigarh traffic police launched a special drive against those parking vehicles wrongfully at the IT Park, Mani Majra, today. In all, 166 vehicles were challaned for wrong parking between the DLF and Infosys buildings and over 45 vehicles were impounded. tns



Centre for Social Works catches fancy of students
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The Centre for Social Works, Panjab University, which started three years ago, caught fancy of students, as a large number of its pass outs are getting placed with average packages offered to them ranging between Rs 2 to Rs 2.5 lakh in both government as well as non-governmental sectors.

The course has started attracting NGOs offering good packages to the students.

Neha Singh and Sonam, pass outs of the department, have been hired by Vedandta Group in Mansa, which are still undergoing training and getting Rs 23,000 every month.

Neha Manaktla, another student, who graduated from the department, got placed in an international NGO, “Oxsam” that has offered her a package of around Rs 1.80 lakh.

“The students earlier used to doubt about the career opportunities in this field, however, the days are gone when social work was done for philanthropic purpose. With the growing NGOs across the country, there are many institutes offering professional courses on social work,” Neha said.

Parveen Thakur, who passed out last year, has been working with the Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) and earning over Rs 30,000 per month.

Gaurav Gaur, assistant professor at the centre, said the growing opportunities in the field of social works was attracting the students towards the course.

Guar said postgraduates had ample job opportunities in both government as well as non-government sectors.

“The opportunities in the government sector is mainly in the community development projects pertaining to health, education, rural development, child, woman and tribal welfare, etc,” he said.

Gaur further added that work in the NGOs could be specific to either urban or rural area. Postgraduates in social work also have job opportunities in the industrial and corporate sector.

PU officials said the number of students opting for the course had increased manifold, following which the department now holds an entrance test and group discussion.



PUTA seeks suggestions to draft API
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The Panjab University Teachers’ Union (PUTA) has decided to seek suggestions over framing of Academic Performance Index (API), which is a much-debated issue among teachers of the university.

PUTA has sent a presentation to all teachers over API, seeking concrete suggestions, so that API serves the interests of maximum faculties.

PUTA president Akshaya Kumar said the suggestions given by teachers would be taken at the executive meeting. “Whatever the executive endorses would be presented before the authorities before drafting of the API,” said PUTA president.

He further said we were trying to bring minor modifications, so that it covered maximum number of faculties. “These are the minor alterations to be made in which we will ensure that the research work done by teachers is highlighted,” Kumar added.

Clearing his stand on the API, Karamjeet Singh from the UBS department, at the general body meeting of PUTA had proposed that the API marks for projects and PhD guidance should not be divided and all teachers should get full marks.

Singh said the UGC had given clear-cut recommendations about the division of marks for the joint publication, but nowhere it is mentioned in the UGC document about the division of marks for projects and research guidance.

“We would not interpret the UGC document to the disadvantage of the teacher community, as it will discourage collaborative research,” Singh stated.



PUSU protest enters second day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The indefinite hunger strike called by PUSU members against the facilities provided by Panjab University to its sportspersons entered its second day.

Although the PU authorities tried to pacify the protesters, they refused to call off the protest until the authorities meet their demands.

Strongly reacting to the claims of the PU authorities of fulfilling demands of the sportspersons, PUSU stated that the sports department and PU authorities are at loggerheads with each other, which affects sportspersons.

Although the university authorities had a meeting with the students, however, the discussion failed to impress the students who decided to continue with the strike.

Sukhjit Singh Brar, PUSU president, stated that the PU authorities are least bothered about the sportspersons of the university, which is reflected through their attitude towards the demands raised by them.

“We are not going to accept this apathetic approach of the authorities towards our demands and the university should be clear about it, as we are not going to end our indefinite hunger strike until they take any concrete steps on our demands.”



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