C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


152 left in the race
26 wards up for grabs in city
Aarti Kapur/ Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
With only five Independent candidates withdrawing their nomination papers for the forthcoming civic elections in the city, a keen multi-cornered contest is in the offing for the 26 wards of the municipal corporation on December 17.

In all, 152 candidates, considerably lower than the tally of 177 in the 2006 elections, will battle it out in the elections, wherein rebel candidates from both the Congress and the BJP will try to queer the pitch for the official nominees of the main political parties.

A dozen candidates, largest number in a single ward, have thrown their hat in the ring in ward No. 5, where former Congress Mayor Subhash Chawla and sitting SAD councillor of Jagjit Singh Kang, are

trying their luck. The presence of nine Independent candidates in this ward will make the going tough for the mainline political parties and if political observers are to be believed, narrow margins will decide the fate of the winner.

If the total number of candidates in the fray is any indicator, the interest and enthusiasm in these elections is evidently less this time. Over two dozen more candidates were in the fray the last time around, with as many as 20 candidates having contested from ward No. 16 alone.

Watchout For

  • Ward No. 15: This ward is most likely to witness a nail-biting fight between the three-time winner and sitting councillor of the SAD-BJP, Harjinder Kaur, against a Congress heavyweight, Chander Mukhi Sharma, who has also won the MC elections thrice.
  • Ward No. 3: Sitting councillor Pardeep Chhabra will cross swords with the BJP candidate, Arun Kumar Goel. This is the only ward to have just two candidates in the fray for the post of councillor.
  • Ward No. 24: Even though three-time councillor Kamlesh is an outsider to this ward, her past record of having won all previous elections will be a key advantage for her when she faces off with BJP rival Rajinder Kaur.
  • Ward No. 11: Chandigarh Jan Manch candidate Shyam Sunder is set to give a tough fight to Anil Kumar Dubey, who is an outsider.
  • Ward No. 14: Kulwinder Kaur, a CJM candidate and murder victim Khushpreet’s mother, is expected to be a tough contender, with the sympathy vote going in her favour. Election observers, however, think this is a strong Congress constituency.

Prominent candidates

  • Pardeep Chhabra, Kamlesh, Chander Mukhi Sharma, Harjinder Kaur, Anu Chatrath, HS Lucky, Devinder Singh Babla, Arun Sood, Davesh Moudgil and Satinder Dhawan

Nominated councillors

Two nominated councillors — Arshad Khan and Pallav Mukherjee — from ward Nos. 26 and 2, respectively will be among the most keenly observed contestants, as this is the first time that nominated councillors are in the fray.



Threat to blow up HC
CJ’s office gets letter seeking favour for Hawara’s kin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
A letter, purportedly written by Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara, addressed to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, threatening to blow up the HC premises sent the UT police in a tizzy today.

The handwritten letter, received at the Chief Justice’s office on December 1, was scripted in Punjabi. The sender, who introduced himself as Hawara, threatened to trigger the explosives hidden on the premises of the High Court if his relative, an advocate, Sukhwinder Singh, of Sangrur district was not selected in the examination for Additional District Judge (ADJ).

The sender threatened to set off the explosives if Hawara’s brother failed to clear the examination.

The police will now try to match Hawara’s handwriting samples with that of the letter. The dreaded terrorist is lodged in the Tihar Jail, Delhi.

The letter was received by the registrar of the High Court yesterday, stating that explosives had been planted around the complex and would be set off in case the “writer’s brother” does not clear the written examination for the post of Additional District Judge.

The police has registered a case of extortion under Sections 386 and 506 of the IPC

at the police station-3 against an unidentified person.

The letter stated that its sender was in possession of a remote-controlled device for the explosives.

The police said they were taking the letter seriously and would get Jagtar Singh Hawara’s handwriting samples matched with those on the letter.

The police also dispatched two teams of the Operations Cell to Sangrur district to trace the advocate, Sukhwinder Singh, who is believed to be Hawara’s distant relative. A copy of letter has also been sent to the intelligence wing of the Punjab Police.

Over ADJ’s post

The letter, purportedly written by dreaded terrorist Jagtar Singh Hawara, states that explosives, planted around the complex, will be set off if the “writer’s brother” does not clear the written examination for the post of Additional District Judge.



International Disabilities Day Today
GMCH doc disputes RCI figures
Affected people in city ‘much less’
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
As the city observes the International Day of Persons with Disabilities tomorrow, a fresh controversy has started with BS Chavan, head of the psychiatry ward, GMCH-32, disputing the prevalence rate of mental retardation in the city vis-ŕ-vis the figures quoted on the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) website.

While the RCI website shows the prevalence rate as 1-3 per cent, Chavan claims it is much lower at 0.13 per cent.

Chavan has even written to the RCI, asking them to “re-look” at their figures, as a house-to-house survey undertaken by him reveals a much lower rate of prevalence of mental retardation in the city. Talking to The Tribune, Chavan said the RCI figures, which are bases on a national average, present an incorrect picture of the actual situation.

He said his team had undertaken a survey, covering 1,82,140 lakh houses and a population of 6,40,423 lakh, in nine sectors and 28 areas, including rural and colonies, of the city.

The findings revealed 5,247 disabled persons in which 790 were mentally challenged. “On an average of the total disabled, only 0.13 per cent were mentally challenged,” he said.

Dr Chavan said: “We are developing the databank for the city in which all disabilities will be categorised under individual heads, like mental, physical, etc. and a detailed record of the disabled persons will be maintained along with a specific mention of their special needs.”

He said the purpose of developing the databank was to have information relating to disabled persons available on a click of a button and they use the same to give them required assistance.

Efforts to contact RCI for comments proved futile.



cfl disposal
UT fails to see the light
Toxic bulbs end up in garbage sans policy
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, December 2
In the absence of arrangements for the disposal of waste compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), hundreds of discarded bulbs can be seen lying unattended at different garbage dumps, releasing poisonous material into the environment. In fact, the UT does not have a policy on the issue.

CFL bulbs and tubelights contain mercury, a highly toxic metal, that can cause serious health problems, like damage to the nervous system, kidneys and liver.

Leakage of mercury from broken a CFL can also cause problems for pregnant women, affecting the foetus.

Residents are unaware about the potential health hazards of the CFL.

In the absence of a proper CFL disposal policy in the city, residents end up dumping the discarded bulbs in the municipal bins or even throwing these into the open. The administration also doesn’t have a list specifying the items included in the CFL products.

Admitting that the administration doesn’t have a policy on the disposal of CFL bulbs and tubelights, Santosh Kumar, director (environment), UT administration, said he would talk to senior officers of the administration to initiate steps for the proper disposal of CFLs in the city.

Sources add that the disposal of CFLs is a costly exercise and the administration will have to be prepared to pay more to the contractor.

Aman Deep Singh, a Sector-20 resident, says they use CFLs at their home and whenever these stop working, they dispose these of in the bin. He is not aware about the health hazards of inappropriate disposal of CFLs, he admits.

Health hazards

  • Mercury leak from a broken CFL can affect vital human organs like liver and cause neurological problems
  • Unregulated disposal of mercury from lamps can potentially contaminate the environment and the food chain



Anil Kumar appointed Home Secy
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Putting all speculations to rest, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has issued a notification for the appointment of Anil Kumar, a 1988-batch Haryana-cadre IAS officer, as the UT Home Secretary. He is likely to take charge on December 5 or 6.

Kumar is currently posted as Commissioner, Ambala division. He replaces acting Home Secretary Satya Gopal, a 1988-batch IAS officer.

Anil Kumar said he learnt about the development “verbally” and was awaiting the letter from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The Haryana government had sent a panel of three IAS officers. Besides

Anil Kumar, the two other contenders for the post were PK Das and RR Jowel, both 1986-batch IAS officers of the state.

Interestingly, Anil Kumar was placed under suspension by the Haryana government on January 19, 2000 after being accused of embezzling funds meant for road repair work in Rohtak district, where he was the Deputy Commissioner. Later in 2001, the Union Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances and Pensions revoked his suspension.

In this case, Anil Kumar had submitted before the National Scheduled Castes Commission that he was being victimised for refusing to order a recount of votes during the parliamentary elections of Rohtak, involving late Devi Lal (Om Prakash Chautala’s father) and Bhupinder Singh Hooda in 1998, which Devi Lal lost by a small margin.



6 crorepatis in the fray
Aarti Kapur/ Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Six crorepatis are in the fray for the forthcoming municipal corporation elections. Besides, these elections are not just the game for the richie-rich, as there are candidates who have assets worth just a few lakhs.

They may be hugely wealthy but it seems they still want more cash or rather want to cash in on the clout they enjoy to enter the portal of municipal corporation elections.

Mukesh Bassi, Congress candidate from ward No. 17, leads the pack of the super rich who have entered the electoral fray. He has immovable assets worth Rs 8.16 crore, while he has movable property worth Rs 1.38 crore.

He is closely followed by Des Raj, a BJP candidate from ward No. 26, who owns immovable assets worth Rs 8.37 crore, while he has movable property worth Rs 98 lakh.

Following them is Congress candidate Devinder Singh Babla from ward No. 15. Businessman by profession, Babla has immovable assets worth Rs 7.28 crores and movable assets worth Rs 56,42,000. In comparison to these candidates with fat bank balances, the sitting councillors, including Pardeep Chhabra, Kamlesh and Chander Mukhi, are way behind.

While Chabbra, a Congress candidate from ward No. 3, owns immovable assets worth Rs 2.64 crore and movable assets of around Rs 23 lakh. Kamlesh, who has also remained the city Mayor twice, owns immovable property of Rs 1.59 crore, while she has movable assets worth Rs 14.50 lakh.

Surprisingly, three-time councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma, a Congress candidate from ward No. 15, doesn’t own any immovable property, while he has movable property worth Rs 22 lakhs only.
In fact, at the same time there is a long list of candidates in the MC elections who have assets worth just a few lakhs.

BJP candidate Rajesh Kalia has movable assets worth Rs 1.22 lakhs only. While Kalia owns gold worth Rs 80,000, he has a bank balance of Rs 35,000 only. Both candidates from ward No. 7 fall in the list of candidates with lowest bank balances.

Figure this, Congress candidate Neeru Yadav has movable assets worth Rs 2.64 lakh, while she doesn’t own any immovable assets.

The list continues further, with Laxmi Devi who is second in owning the lowest movable assetd worth Rs 3 lakh without having any immovable assets.

Following them, Congress candidate, Dharamvir from ward No. 19, has movable assets worth Rs 3.9 lakh. His case is similar to the three mentioned earlier as he also doesn’t own any immovable assets.


Campaigns to woo voters in full swing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Campaigning for the municipal corporation elections have kicked off in all wards. Candidates have set up offices in their wards to woo voters.

Harmohinder Singh Lucky today held several nukkad meetings in Sector 20 as a part of his campaign for ward 16. He was accompanied by OP Verma, president Resident Welfare Association, and Suresh Kapila, president, House Owners’ Welfare Association.

HS Lucky said development was the top priority on his agenda and he would make the ward a model ward. Similarly, BJP candidate Sourabh Joshi from ward 2 has also gone for door-to-door campaign in his ward, along with his supporters.

Even the SAD candidates are also wooing up their voters in their respective wards and addressing small rallies in markets and parks of the residential areas to share their agendas with the voters of the wards.

Congress candidate Chander Mukhi Sharma, who is contesting from ward 15, is going to launch his campaigning officially tomorrow.



Rebel candidates look to upset parties’ applecart
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Rebel candidates from both the Congress and the BJP are set to queer the pitch for the officials nominees of the main political parties in the MC polls. Though the number of rebels candidates in the fray may not be large, the fate of prominent candidates Devinder Singh Babla (Congress, ward No. 18), Jagtar Singh (BJP, 25) and Asha Kumar Jaiswal (BJP, 4) hinges on the votes polled by the party rebels. Gurcharan Dass Kala who has turned rebel has a potential to make a dent in BJP’s vote bank in ward No. 25, from where he has decided to contest independently after being denied the ticket. Political observers believe as Kala’s vote bank, which led to his massive win with a margin of 2179 votes against former Congress councillor Surinder Singh in the last MC polls in 2006, can prove his dominance in the elections.

Another Congress rebel, Kuldeep Bansal is expected to give sleepless nights to controversial Devinder Singh Babla, as both are contesting from ward No. 18. Although Babla has a great fan-following in the ward from where had won the last elections with huge margin, Bansal is also said to be popular with the residents.

The clash within the party will certainly hel the opponents.

Her local candidate status will benefit rebel Dr Meena Sharma from ward No. 4. She decided to contest independently after the BJP took a U-turn after finalising her as its candidate from the ward.

A large number of Independent candidates have changed equations. Prominent political candidates Anu Chatrath, Arun Sood, Harphool Chand Kalyan, Ram Lal, HS Lucky, Jatinder Bhatia and Davesh Moudgil will have a tough triangular contest.

There will be tough triangular fight between the three prominent women candidates of ward No. 1 i.e. Congress’ Raj Bala Malik, BJP’s Satinder Dhawan and CJM’s Joginder Mukherjee. Former Mayor and strong Congress candidate Anu Chatrath will have to struggle hard this time, with five opponents, including two strong candidates Saurabh Joshi (BJP) and Pallav Mukherjee (CJM), in the fray. BJP candidate Arun Sood also has a tough contest from strong opponents from rival parties.



Three issued notice under Defacement Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
The state election department today issued notices under the Defacement Act to three candidates contesting the municipal corporation (MC) elections.

Raj Bala Malik of Congress and Satinder Dhawan of BJP, both from ward 1, were issued notices by election observers.

Subhash Chawla, another Congress candidate from ward number 5, was also issued notice under the Defacement Act.

According to the notice, the three candidates have misused the public property for pasting their party banners and posters.



Allotment of Flats
Applicants protest against Ansal API
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 2
A number of applicants who have paid booking amount for flats at the Sector 127 project of Ansal API in Mohali today staged a protest against the company for not fulfilling its promise of allotting the flats.

They alleged that the company had promised in April 2010 that they would start construction at the site within six months from the date of booking. But nothing has started at the site.

Claiming that they would approach the Punjab government, Chief Town Planner and GMADA, the plot seekers alleged that the project had been scrapped.

On the other hand, Vishal Karanwwal, senior manager, sales and marketing, Ansal API, said the company had never made any commitment of any allotment on any unit to anybody in any of our project against any application in advance.

To elaborate further, our business model encourages investments by various stakeholders, including landlords, collaborators and investors. Those seeking refund would get the amount along with the interest.



With 2 ACPs, 900 cops, Pkl prone to crime
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 2
While the local police has been plaguing with acute crunch of staff at higher as well as at lower ranks, the district seems to be all free for burglars and snatchers. There are only two Assistant Commissioners of the Police Superintendents and 900 policemen including mere 11 inspectors to take care of the district with a population over four lakh.

In contrast, the neighbouring Union Territory, Chandigarh, with a population of 10.5 lakh has 15 DSPs, 65 inspectors to handle a force of nearly 6,000 policemen.

This, however, makes the area vulnerable to crime. With the two ACPs at the district, the supervision work at all the police stations has been badly affected. And its consequences are not difficult to be assessed. There have been a whopping 137 theft and 47 snatching incidents so far this year. The number of the incidents last year was as low as 124 and 34, theft and snatching, respectively.

In fact, the district had always been a soft target for the criminals due to the paucity of the police force. As over 250 of the police personnel remain deputed on temporary duties and VIP duties the effective force to man at three towns, two highways and five borders with neighbouring areas of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Chandigarh, dwindles to a little over 600.

The Deputy Commissioner of the Police, Maneesh Chaudhary, when contacted said he has already been in touch with higher authorities over the issue and it is expected that more DSPs and other officials will be provided to the district very soon.

137 cases this year

Theft incidents have increased to 137 this year against the 124 thefts reported last year. It is still low as compared to 2009 when 181 theft cases were registered. The credit for it, however, goes to the efforts of residents in Panchkula city who installed security gates in the localities.

Acquittal of criminals

The acquittal of the criminals was another factor for failure in reining the number of such cases in the district as the police could not prove its cases. Over 40 criminals have already been acquitted by Panchkula Court. In May, the court acquitted four persons accused of planning dacoity. They were acquitted as there were contradictions in the prosecution story. There was no independent witness and all the prosecution witnesses were the police personnel.



Rush, advance booking jack up airfare
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
While almost all trains from the city to New Delhi are running packed to their capacity, residents looking for hassle-free travel have pushed the airfare up by around 50 per cent in the past two months.

As most express trains, including the Shatabdi, the Himalayan Queen and others, have been running full to their capacity, residents have started availing of the services of private airlines operating from the city.

According to sources, the airlines that used to charge Rs 6,000 for current single fair to Delhi are now charging around Rs 9,600 for the same.

Similarly, the current fare for Mumbai was around Rs 9,500, which has now gone up to Rs 13,500 or more.

Even the ticket of GoAir, which operates a direct flight to Mumbai, is available for Rs 15,767 online.

Vishal Garg, a BTech student of IIT, Mumbai, says he used to visit his parents in the city during holidays as the air fares were low but with the fares having almost doubled, he has to think twice before making travel plans.

A private airline official, on the condition of anonymity, says there is no hike in the airfare as the Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) fixes these.

He adds that the main reason for the increase in the airfare is the advance booking of seats, discount for which is being offered by the airlines on the two routes.

An air travel agent, Rohit Badhwar, says the higher cost of travel hasn’t had much impact on their business, as people are more aware about time management now.

He says people now prefer to travel long distances within hours and, that too, without facing any hassles. He says there is more awareness within the lower middle income group about discounted tickets being offered by the airlines and they book seats one or two months in advance.

Badhwar adds that earlier the current tickets to Delhi and Mumbai were available for Rs 6,000 and Rs 9,500, respectively, as most discounted seats remained available till one week before the scheduled departure of the flight and the airlines used to offer discounts to fill the remaining vacant seats.

However, the situation is totally different today as all discounted seats get booked within a few weeks, as a result of which the airlines increase the fares keeping in view the rush of passengers, he added.

The cause

The main reason for the increase in the airfare is the advance booking of seats, discounts for which are being offered by the airlines.



Suspension of two police officers
PCA for action against DSP (Police Lines)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Police Complaint Authority (PCA) has recommended disciplinary action against a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) for failing to look into an incident of scuffle involving the police personnel and an advocate in a fair and dispassionate manner. The PCA has also recommended suspension of a sub-inspector and a constable for gross misconduct and abuse of power.

The action recommended disciplinary action against the DSP (Lines) Jagbir Singh, suspension of the sub-inspector Gurdev Singh and constable Kaptan Singh on a complaint of abuse of the power filed by advocate Ajay Sood.

“DSP (Lines) being a senior police officer, also being the officer-in charge of the petrol pump Sector 33, was expected to intervene immediately after the incident. He failed to look into the incident in a fair and dispassionate manner and instead supported the constable. He has drafted an inquiry report which does not inspire trust and confidence,” states the order.

The order further states it is a case of high-handedness and arrogance by a police constable even though he was not performing police duty at the Sector 33 petrol pump.

As per the complaint, Ajay Sood went to the petrol pump run by the police welfare society for fuelling his Honda Activa on May 6 this year. He paid Rs 200 as the price of petrol and then stopped at the exit for filling air in the tyres of the scoter. The service boy told him to go to the other side meant for two wheelers. As there was a defect in the machine, Ajay Sood returned to the previous side and the service boy misbehaved with him. Constable Kaptan Singh who was in-charge of the petrol pump intervened and allegedly misbehaved with the complainant while supporting the boy’s conduct.

He alleged that the constable threatened and abused him. Ajay called the police control room after he was slapped and stopped from leaving the petrol pump.

It also was alleged that he called the PCR thrice but the PCR personnel too did not listen to him as they arrived. The complainant managed to leave only after the intervention of other advocates.

Ajay complained to the SSP and an inquiry was marked to DSP Jagbir Singh, which gave a clean chit to the constable and the sub-inspector and stated that no police officer misbehaved with the advocate. They stated in their reply that Ajay Sood did not pay the price of the petrol and entered into an altercation when he was stopped.

The PCA ruled that the inquiry report by DSP Jagbir Singh appears to be totally one-sided and biased. “Sub-inspector Gurdev Singh failed to record the complainants’ report and send him for medical examination. The DSP deserves appropriate disciplinary action as the Inspector General of Police may seem proper,” states the order.



Inside Babudom
Punjab bureaucrat is International Sugar Council chairman
Prabhjot Singh/tns

Chandigarh, December 2
Punjab's senior civil servant and Union Food Secretary Dr Bhushan Chander Gupta has a rare distinction to his credit. Today, he was elected chairman of the International Sugar Council, while Prime Minister of Fiji, Baina Manrarana, swas elected vice-chairman of the council.

Incidentally, both Dr Gupta and Punjab Chief Secretary SC Aggarwal are batchmates.

At the 40th meeting of the council held in London this morning, his name was proposed by the European Union and seconded by Mauritius, paving way for his unanimous election as its next head. At present, 88 nations are members of the council. The next International Sugar Conference would be organised in Delhi in the last week of April 2012.

India, after Brazil, is the second largest producer of sugar. It produces 350 million tonnes of sugarcane and about 25 million tonnes of sugar.

Talking to The Tribune soon after his election, Dr Gupta stated that his top priority would be the further development and stabilisation of sugar sector by adopting activities like production of ethanol, developing appropriate technology for conversion of bagasse into ethanol and adopting modern agricultural practices for boosting cane production.

Dr Gupta, an alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, is also credited with making efforts for introducing production of sugar from sugarbeet in India. As a pilot project, 2000 hectares of saline land was brought under cultivation of sugarbeet in Belgaum district of Karnataka during previous year.

RK Vachher promoted as DGP

Meanwhile, Haryana appears to be going the Punjab way in making its top police force heavy. After promotion of Satyendra Kumar, Sharad Kumar and RK Vaccher yesterday, all 1979 batch officers, the strength of Directors General of Police serving in the state has gone up to seven.

RK Vachher has created a record of sort, as he has become perhaps the first police officer, who after direct recruitment as Deputy Superintendent of Police in April 1974, has risen to the top position in the department. Incidentally, he is the son former chief of Haryana police, JC Vachher. A part of the Madhuban Police Complex in Karnal is named after JC Vachher.

RK Vachher held some important positions, including those in Intelligence Bureau and the Chandigarh Police.



Ghazal maestro enthrals audience
SD Sharma

Pinjore, December 2
While the historic Moghul garden sparkled in lavish décor, dazzling lights and cultural activities throughout the day, the Mumbai-based acclaimed ghazal maestro, Chandan Das, enraptured the music-loving crowd during a ghazal concert at the main stage of the ongoing Pinjore Heritage Festival here today.

Inspired by the fascinating ambience, Chandan Das commenced the recital on a romantic note with “Aapka pyar milega toh sanwer jaoonga” before doling out his hit ghazal “Naa ji bhar ke dekha”. The audience applauded him for sleek rendition of Qateel Shefai’s kalaam “Mein nazar se pee rha hoon, ye sman badal na jaye”, as also for his lone Punjabi song “Ve mahi fauz bich jaan waleye” and Nida Fazli’s “Nazdikiyon me duur ka manzar talash ker”. He interspersed the ghazals with soothing couplets relating to thematic content of lyrics. Chief guest Pramavir Singh, Haryana Minister for Agriculture, honoured the artistes.



2 die in road mishaps

Chandigarh, December 2
Two persons died in separate hit-and-run cases of accidents in the city. Chander Pal, a vegetable supplier from Fatehgarh Sahib, died when an unidentified vehicle hit his autorickshaw. Chander was going towards the grain market, along with Manoj Kumar when the accident occurred.

The police said Chander succumbed to his injuries in a hospital. In another accident, a shopkeeper, Kishan Kumar, died when an unidentified vehicle hit him. Kishan was rushed to GMSH-16 in a critical condition where doctors declared him brought dead.— TNS



Preparations for Vidhan Sabha elections assessed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 2
The district election officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Varun Roozam today held a meeting of district administration and police officials to gear for the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections.

The DC said a drug control committee comprising police officials and health officials had already come into force to check the illegal sale of liquor and psychotropic drugs in the district.

He said several others committee that would come to force once the code of conduct was enforced were also being formed as preparedness for the elections.



Demolition drive at Phase-VII market
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 2
The enforcement wing of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today carried out a demolition drive in the back lane of the Phase VII market.

A team of the enforcement wing, led by junior engineer Jaspal Singh, demolished structures raised on the rear end of seven shops in the market.

For the past several years, no official of GMADA has bothered to remove the encroachment.

Sources said the encroachment was coming in the way of widening of parking lots on the rear end of the shops.

GMADA and the MC have undertaken work on widening of parking lots at the rear end of the markets.



Five more villages to be in MC limits soon
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 2
Five more villages would be included in the municipal limits of Zirakpur soon. A resolution to this effect was passed at the MC meeting here today. Dyalpura village was included into the MC limits yesterday.

During the meeting, MC president and chairman of the District Planning Board, NK Sharma, said the council had decided to include five villages, including Chhat, Narian Jhuggian, Adda Jhuggian, Shatabhgarh, Nagla and Sanoli. He said the resolution was passed by the councillors and sent for approval to the state government.

He said the budget of the council had also increased to Rs 15 crore. Earlier, the council had the budget of Rs 32.80 crore and it will be increased to Rs 47.80 crore. The president said the increased amount would be spent on various development works of the town.

The council had also passed the resolution of self-certification scheme and ordered the department concerned to issue the notification.

Taking the matter of eco cabs seriously, Sharma had also asked the council official to set up a team to inspect the congested area in Zirakpur and submit a report in the next meeting.

He said at the last meeting, the council had written to the government to de-notify land acquisition of Singhpura and Ramgarh Bhuda villages by PUDA in 2004. The government had de-notified the land acquisition of the villages. He said the council would start the development works in the villages soon. The council is also planning to install five new tubewells in Zirakpur.



Chief Minister accepts demands by PCMS docs
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 2
Punjab Civil Medical Service (PCMS) doctors today wore black badges for the fifth day today. The doctors also held ‘Black Flag Rally to register their protest against “inordinate delay” in implementing nine demands accepted by the Punjab Government. The demands were accepted at a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister on November 5.

Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa, deputy director and patron of the association while addressing the protest rally at Civil Hospital, Mohali, maintained that it was a pity that “red-tape of babushahi” was dictating a responsive government.

Accepted demands include raising of retirement age to 60 years, restoration on status of civil surgeon at par with Deputy Commissioner, creation of post of director general of health services, designation of administrative SMOs as deputy civil surgeons, cadre review including creation of specialist cadre on CGHS pattern, treating NPA as pay for all intents and purposes, re-fixation of pay by calculating NPA on DP and restoration of notification to treat "satisfactory/average" ACRs as "good" for ACPs.



Consumer Courts
Greenfield Sites told to refund Rs 7.5 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-I has slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on Greenfield Sites Management Private Limited and Chandigarh Overseas Private Limited for delay in handing over an apartment.

The district forum comprising president PD Goel and members Rajinder Singh Gill and Madanjit Kaur Sahota also directed the opposite parties to refund Rs 7.5 lakh to Meenakshi Tuli Pasrija, a Sector-15 resident, besides Rs 10,000 as costs of litigation.

The complainant had submitted that she had applied for industrial workspace/design studio in Fashion Technology Park, Mohali, measuring 125 sq ft on September 25, 2006 with confirmation of the buyback option and made a payment of Rs 4.75 lakh to the opposite parties through cheques.

After the lease agreement was executed in her favour on December 15, 2006, the opposite parties assured to deliver the possession in mid-2009 but thereafter the opposite parties postponed the matter on one pretext or the other.

She averred that thereafter, the opposite parties showed their inability to hand over the allotted space and showed their willingness to compensate her. Thereafter, the opposite parties requested her to exercise the option of buyback one month prior to January 18, 2010, which she ultimately utilised and sent a request to the opposite parties on November 28, 2009.

Thereafter, the opposite parties sent a cheque for Rs 15,121 to the complainant as a rent/compensation for the period from January 19 to March 31, 2010 and informed her that the buyback option would be honoured by December 31, 2010. However, the opposite parties neither paid the rent for using the allotted land space nor honoured the buyback option despite a legal notice sent to them on March 24, 2011.

The counsel for the opposite parties pleaded that the complainant had not deposited the installments as per the agreement and the lease deed that was executed between the complainant and Greenfield Sites was to come into operation only after the delivery of possession of the unit by Chandigarh Overseas.



‘Clinic’ sans licence at PU dept
Being run under Vice-Chancellor’s patronage
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Panjab University allowing an alternate medicine “clinic” to run out of its forensic science department without any permission or even due licence has come in as a shock to the teaching and student fraternity on the campus.

If one believes in claims by the “practicing doctor”, his biggest patron is none other than Prof RC Sobti, the Vice-Chancellor.

The clinic is running from the office of Dr RK Pathak, coordinator of forensic science, where his friend Bel Deu Singh, a research scholar in the department, is practicing. The clinic offers treatment for a wide range of ailments, including simple fungal infections, ventricular septal defect (VSD) and even holes in the heart using special natural sprays of nano extracts of fruits, vegetables and spices.

Conducting a routine blood test on his microscope, he has been recommending massaging extracts on patient’s body based on toxin levels in blood. Replying to a query by the reporter, Bel Deu said his research was an extension of his “personal” research done in Malaysia. He claimed to be registered with the Malaysian Institute of Complimentary Medicine and even with the Indian Institute of Alternative Medicine.

Teachers of the department of anthropology have sought intervention of the Dean University Instructions (DUI) to sort out the matter. “It is a sheer mockery of the university standards incase ‘quacks’ were given premises to practice openly. How can the university allow him to carry on his personal research? I am not sure if he has a clearance from the human ethical committee to test his extracts on people? We have informed the authorities many times, but they continue to remain mute,” said a teacher of the department.



Law students demand grace marks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Over 70 students of the law department have alleged that their third semester TPA examination held on November 26 was not just set out of syllabus but had several dubious questions.

In a letter shot to the chairperson of the department and examination branch, the students have demanded 25 grace marks across the board for the varsity’s folly.

According to the representation, the question paper instructions asking students to answer question numbers two to nine in five pages was irrelevant, as no such specification was made in the syllabus, leaving it to the students’ subjective knowledge and decision about a topic.

A similar object has been raised on the instruction asking the students to answer each part of question number one in a minimum of two pages.

“We are preparing ourselves to be lawyers and we will not be judged by our knowledge and content of answers but on the number of pages we will fill? It is illogical given to universal difference in each individual’s knowledge and handwriting, moreover nothing of this sort was ever mentioned in our syllabus, which is the key bible to set the papers,” said a student.

According to students, question numbers two, eight and ultitos transfers were out of syllabus and question number nine was wrongly set, as according to them, while students were asked to write about amendments in 2002, no amendment has been recorded in that year.



Experts dwell on issues of biodiversity conservation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
A special conference on “Approaches to address current issues for sustainable biodiversity” started at the department of zoology, Panjab University, today.

The conference, held under the aegis of Indian Society of Life Sciences, Chandigarh Chapters of National Academy of Sciences India (NASI) and Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), was inaugurated by Prof SS Katiyar, former Vice-Chancellor, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj University. Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti highlighted that biology needed to be studied as an integrative field encompassing the principles of physics, chemistry and mathematics.

Prof Katiyar called for a harmonious interaction of mankind with the ecosystem on which depended the survival of human race and that alleviation of poverty was closely linked to the maintenance of a sustainable biodiversity. He also delivered Vishwa Nath memorial lecture on “Sustainable biodiversity” and Prof MS Jairajpuri delivered NK Gupta memorial lecture on “Nematode biodiversity”. Deliberating on the issue of biodiversity conservation, Dr AK Saxena of the Indian Society of Life Sciences called upon to have a close interaction among scientists to evolve a fruitful roadmap to achieve the set goals in this direction.



Experts delve into interpretation of Gurbani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 2
Dr Gursharanjit Singh, eminent scholar of Gurmat literature and chairperson of Guru Nanak Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, delivered a special lecture on “Different schools of interpreting Gurbani”. The lecture was organised by the department of Guru Nanak Sikh Studies, Panjab University.

Dr Kirpal Singh presided over the function and is also the project director of editing Sikh historical source material. Dr Gursharanjit explained different schools of interpretation of Gurbani and also explained the evolution in this field.

Dr Kirpal Singh concluded by saying how the interpretation of Gurbani changes with the change of circumstances and historical perspective.



Best educationist award

Chandigarh, December 2
National Institute of Nursing Education (NINE) principal, Dr Sandhya Ghai, brought laurels to the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, by securing the best educationist award for outstanding achievements in the field of education organised by the International Institute of Education and Management, New Delhi.

She was also honoured with the National Mahila Rattan Gold Medal Award by the Indian Solidarity Council. — TNS



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