C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT orders child-mapping again
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
In a knee-jerk reaction to gaping loopholes in the recent child-mapping survey, the UT Administration has ordered another survey of over 1 lakh students to check their eligibility for admission under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

The exercise is being repeated following a series of reports by The Tribune highlighting major discrepancies in the list. A huge chunk of deserving children was left out in the survey, the result of which was put up on the website of the education department recently.

To make matters worse, the Administration wants to carry out the recounting exercise in just 21 days. Teachers are at their wits’ end for taking up the mammoth job at such a short notice. They had been unable to complete the exercise within a year earlier.

Going by the deadline set by the department, teachers are expected to survey 1,49,575 students by January 15, 2012. In a simple calculation, the issue burns down to tabulating data of approximately 7,000 students per day. It amounts to only 12 seconds per child and that too if the teachers worked round the clock.

This hasty decision has left private schools baffled. They feel that the education department will end up delaying or messing nursery admissions with its “hasty, impractical tactics”.

“Ever since last December, we have sent them reminders about the child-mapping results every month, but they did not take notice of it. What couldn’t be done in a year, can it be achieved in a fortnight? What were they doing the entire year? What if the January 15 data is also faulty? Will we wait till April?” questioned HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association.

Don’t overstep brief, principals told

City government school principals were pulled up today for interacting with the media. In a bid to trace the “black sheep” among them, the UT education department summoned them for an emergency meeting at Government Model School, Sector 10. The department threatened to chargesheet those who did not attend the meeting. The principals said the DPI (S) had asked them to abstain from washing the dirty linen of the department in front of the media.



Property dispute turns ugly; woman SHO, cops manhandled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The first woman Station House Officer (SHO) of the city, Punam Dilawari, was manhandled by three women involved in a property dispute when she tried to stop them from exchanging blows in Sector 8 here today. The police has registered a case against Manavjit Kaur and her two daughters Kismat and Shreya at the Sector 3 police station.

The incident occurred when heated discussions over a property issue turned ugly. One of the parties assaulted the police officials who tried to intervene.

The house under dispute belongs to Manavjit Kaur, whose husband Bharat Pal Singh had died in an accident on September 26. His car had rammed into a tree. The family had alleged that he was murdered due to a property dispute. The police had registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder at the Sector 3 police station against unidentified persons. The investigation in the case is still pending.

The drama started this morning when Rajesh Kumar, who had obtained permission from the court to acquire a part of the house, went to the Sector 8 house of Manavjit Kaur. Girish Pal Singh, her brother-in-law, had sold the part of the house to Rajesh.

Rajesh and Girish went to the house to take possession, but Manavjit objected to it and heated arguments ensued between them. The arguments soon turned violent following which they called the police.

Inspector Punam Dilawari reached the spot and tried to intervene. She was pushed aside by Manavjit and her daughters. She was also pinched repeatedly and roughed up. The scene is learnt to have been recorded on a CCTV camera installed there.



82-yr-old dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
An 82-year-old woman was killed as an Innova car being driven by a woman hit her on the road separating Sectors 23 and 24 here around 9 am today.

The police arrested the driver of the car, Baljinder Kaur, wife of an NRI and a Sector-16 resident, in a case of causing death due negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC. She was later released on bail. Kailaso Devi, was crossing the road with her 24-year-old son Prithvi Raj when the accident occurred. She received grievous injuries and was rushed to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.



Poll result review session
Rap for Cong youth, mahila wings
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The youth and mahila wings of the local Chandigarh Congress Territorial Committee was given a reprimand at hands of the party high command for “non-performance” during the recently concluded municipal corporation (MC) elections at a meeting held here today.

The review session, held under the chairmanship of local Member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal, was attended by elected councillors and leaders in command of the local unit of the party.

Candidates complained that they received dismal support from the youth and mahila wings of the party during campaigning for the poll.

The gathering was unanimous that the party lost a sizeable chunk of votes of government employees with the UT Administration, Punjab and Haryana.

The party took a serious note of names that were attached with the wards where the party performed poorly. The party sought an explanation and gave a mild censure.

A senior party leader, requesting anonymity, said the Member of Parliament asked all candidates who lost to have separate interview sessions with him to give election debacle details.

Councillors complained to Bansal that they were not receiving the attention of certain MC officials.

He replied that managing work in their respective constituencies and at the MC office were their individual responsibilities.

It was also pointed out that instead of a pre-House meeting before a House meeting, the Mayor should call councillors to his office separately and listen to their grievances and problems before finalising the agenda.

Study and answer: Bansal

Bansal directed leaders separately to do an exhaustive study on why the party lost four MC seats. He sought answers so that the party could take note of the deficiencies with an eye on parliamentary elections.



Mercury hits a new low
Chandigarh still colder than Shimla, Dharamshala

Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Mercury continued to plummet in the region, making the city, at 3°C, colder than Shimla and Dharamshala for the second day today. The minimum temperatures at the two towns in Himachal Pradesh were recorded at 4.2°C and 4.1°C, respectively.

The minimum temperature at Patiala was recorded at 2.8°C, four degrees below normal.

Icy winds blowing in the region were expected to continue for another two or three days, forcing residents to remain indoors at late and wee hours.

Though there was some cloud formation in some parts of the region, there was no possibility of rain due to Western disturbances.

Today’s night temperature was the season’s lowest. The maximum temperature was recorded at 18.4°C, three degrees below normal.

Though the city did not witness dense fog, chilly winds blowing across the city added to the woes of residents.

The Met department predicted a mainly clear sky, with mist or haze during morning and evening hours.

The maximum temperature on Saturday would be around 18ºC and the minimum on Sunday around 3ºC.



Year Ender 2011: MC
Luck and doom went hand in hand
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Councillors argue in the House.
Councillors argue in the House.

The multi-level parking sites.
Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, December 24
The year 2011 has turned out to be a lucky one for the municipal corporation (MC) during its five-year tenure as all projects mooted and approved in 2006, at the start of its tenure, have seen the light of the day and no new project has been initiated.

Controversies, including those regarding the garbage-processing plant, paver blocks without planning, the Uppal housing project and water share from phases 5 and 6 of the Kajauli waterworks, rocked the House on many occasions.

During the current year, a number of house meetings of the MC were adjourned by Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh on two issues, the booth scam and the mayoral election imbroglio.

Likewise, there was no development in the execution of the major projects which had been hanging fire for the past decade, of which three which were pending for the past more than 10 years and seven for more than five years.

Even one of the pilot projects, that of a multi-level parking at Sector 17, was scrapped as the UT Administration took a very long time in giving approval to it.

In an unprecedented incident, all MC officials staged a walkout from the General House in August, protesting after being termed a “nikamma office” by a BJP councillor on the floor of the House.


Community parking: To cope with the problem of parking in residential areas, the first pilot project of community parking at Sector 19, with a capacity of 200 vehicles, was inaugurated.

Martyrs’ Pillar: The 17-foot-three-inch-high three-faced pillar, with a hexagonal base made of black granite, bearing the names of 33 martyrs from Chandigarh, was inaugurated in August.

Mahila Bhavan: The construction of the building at Sector 38 was started in February. It would be developed on 1.3 acres, which would have a triple-storeyed building and underground parking for 158 cars. It would run various vocational and training courses for women.

MC Facebook: In February, the MC introduced Facebook facility for one-on-one interaction with residents about their problems. It was launched so that residents did not have to visit the departments concerned to report petty complaints.


Mani Majra master plan: In 2001, the master plan of Mani Majra was formulated. A total of 500 acres was lying vacant for the past 10 years. It was submitted for sanction to the UT Administration, but it failed to give approval till date. Extension of MC building: In 2004, the MC submitted drawings of extension plans of its building, but nothing had been done by the chief architect’s department till date. The water harvesting project had been hanging fire for long, awaiting the approval and completion of the building plan.

Multi-level parking: In 2005, drawings of six proposed multi-level parking projects were submitted to the Administration. Till date, only one plan had been approved. The pilot project had been scrapped by the MC as the Administration took a long time in granting approval and the contractor refused to construct it as the cost had gone up by then.

Circus ground project: A project of Rs 60 lakh for converting the circus ground into an exhibition ground had been lying pending for the past more than three years. There was a proposal to construct a boundary wall around it, with toilets for the public and parking space nearby.

Fish market: The UT Administration constructed a fish market, comprising 12 booths, at Sector 41 and handed it over to the MC for auction. The auction was a flop show as nobody turned up. After this, the MC suggested to the UT Administration to lease out these booths. Till date, the Administration has not given its approval to the proposal.


Year Ender 2011: civic body
All that Mohali saw was numerous changes
Kulwinder Sangha

The municipal council’s office in Mohali.
The municipal council’s office in Mohali. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, December 24
Major changes were witnessed in the town’s civic body during the year without it proving to be effective in meeting the aspirations of residents and solving their problems. First the municipal council was upgraded to the level of a municipal corporation by the government in January, cutting short the term of elected representatives with their consent by nearly eight months. By the end of year, the civic body once again attained the status of a council after the Punjab and Haryana High Court stayed the government notification through which the civic body was given the status of a corporation.

Three Commissioners of the corporation were appointed during the first three months, with additional charge, to run the civic body. By the time the official managed to know about the town and chalk out plans for its development, the additional charge was withdrawn from him.

A councillor explains her point during a General House meeting.

Parveen Kumar, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Mohali in January, was the first Commissioner of the upgraded civic body. After

about a month’s time, the additional charge of the corporation was given to Saravjit Singh, Chief Administrator, GMADA.

Later, on April 4, the newly appointed Deputy Commissioner of Mohali district, Varun Roojam, was made the Commissioner. However, in the first week of August, Saravjit Singh, Chief Administrator, GMADA, was once again made the Commissioner of the corporation.

Former municipal councillors, who had unanimously given up their eight-month term, later lamented to have done so. They were given an assurance that they would be nominated, but this did not happen. They were also hopeful that the sacrifice made by them would help the development in the town at a much faster pace. On this front, too, they faced disappointment. They often said that the upgraded civic body had failed to even execute works cleared by the elected body in time what to talk about additional development.

No improvement was brought about in the state of sanitation. The problem of illegal rehris plying in the town and menace of stray cattle continued as always.

Now, the civic body is once again functioning as a council, with JC Sabharwal, a PCS officer, administrating the work.



Where givers turn takers
Bal Bhavan premises often used free

Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Some departments of the UT Administration have been seeking freebies from the very organisations that depend on it for financial support. The most recent example is of the UT tourism department booking a hall at the Bal Bhavan in Sector 23, being run by an NGO, for two days on a complimentary basis to hold auditions.

Sources in the Administration revealed that the practice of using these facilities free of charge was frequent.

Rules did not provide for free use of these premises and a concession of up to 50 per cent could be availed of under certain circumstances pertaining to charity and education.

The UT Home Secretary was authorised to grant this concession. The charges for the hall were Rs 5,000 per day.

The sources said while the programme of the tourism department was scheduled for December 19 and 20, the premises were not booked in advance, as required.

It was only on December 21 that a letter in this regard was delivered to Bal Bhavan officials.

The premises, meant for the promotion of children’s activities, was being run by the Indian Council for Child Welfare, an NGO.

The letter, written by the UT director tourism to the honorary secretary of the Bal Bhavan, who was also the director of the social welfare department, stated that the use of the hall should be complimentary as it was a government function.

Despite repeated attempts, director tourism Tanvi Garg could not be contacted for comment.

AK Malhotra, general manager, tourism, claimed that they had paid charges to technicians at the Bal Bhavan, but declined to comment on the charges for the hall.

The sources added that the social welfare department observed Harmony Week for three days from November 21, for which the Bal Bhavan premises were used free of cost.

“There have been several similar instances over the past few months,” a functionary of the social welfare department claimed.

“Our feedback is that in addition to the free use of the premises, the Bal Bhavan staff and resources are also utilised for making arrangements and providing refreshments,” he added.

The free use of facilities had been affecting the financial position of the organisation as there was no compensation for power, water and utilities.

Besides, staff salaries had not even been revised after the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.



Toll plaza in Chandimandir
Notice to company for January 20
Tribune News Service

A toll plaza under construction on the Panchkula-Kalka highway. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, December 24
Accepting a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking exemption of toll charges for residents of Pinjore, Kalka, Surajpur and Saket at the upcoming toll plaza in Chandimandir, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice to the company concerned for January 20.

The PIL had been filed by the “Shivalik Vikas Manch.”

The toll plaza on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo highway will be set up by the Himalayan Express Way Company proposing Rs 40 as toll for one side. While Rs 70 will be charged from pick-up vans, bus and truck drivers will have to shell out Rs 140 at the toll plaza which is expected to start by March next year.

President of the Shivalik Vikas Manch Vijay Bansal submitted that the Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass would benefit commuters bound for Himachal Pradesh and other parts of Haryana and Punjab. For their benefit, residents of Pinjore and Kalka should not suffer, Bansal pleaded in the PIL.

The upcoming toll plaza should be shifted from here or the residents of Pinjore and Kalka should be exempted from paying toll,” the PIL stated.

The PIL was admitted in the High Court on December 16.



Chandigarh scan
Blood donated

Aanchal International School, Sector 41, organised a blood donation camp on the eve of Christmas to lend uniqueness to the occasion. A team of doctors and paramedical staff members from the blood transfusion office of the Sector-16 hospital organised the drive. Dr Raj Bahadur, director-principal of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, was the guest of honour.

Free ride

As many as 100 students of Bapu Dham Colony were taken on a CITCO-sponsored free ride on the hop-on-hop-off bus around prominent places of tourist interest. Later, a painting contest on ‘Merry Christmas’ was held at Lakeview cafeteria. These students were studying the English language under an access programme funded by the US Embassy and managed by Yuvsatta at Government Model Senior Secondary School, timber market, Sector 26.

KV-47 reunion

KV-47 reunionThe first alumni get-together of Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV), Sector 47, was organised. This was the 46th year of the school. There was a dinner and dance at Hotel Mountview for ex-students and their families. More than 150 students met and relived their school days.

Day of fun

It was a day filled with excitement and thrill at AKSIPS Smart School, which organised its exhibition-cum-fete ‘Sparkzzz’ on the school premises. The school wore an atmosphere of festivity and happiness as it was tastefully decorated, showcasing various projects and models of science, social studies, mathematics and the languages.

Drive against drunk driving

The traffic police has launched a drive to curb drunken driving around Christmas and New Year Eve. Barriers to challan those found drunk while driving will be set up at various points on Madhya Marg, near the airport traffic lights and near night clubs and hotels at late hours. On Friday night, the traffic police challaned 90 persons for drunken driving and another 104 for rash driving. The challans were issued at 14 police barriers across the city. The drive would continue till December 31, said DSP (Traffic) Vijay Kumar.

Panchkula scan

School fest

The Bhavan Vidyalaya fest was an avalanche of entertainment. Snow-clad hills, ‘Santa Claus’ giving rides to children on his sledge, decorated Christmas trees and snowmen made the school look picturesque.

Dance drama

Brilliance World School, Sector 12, celebrated Christmas on the campus. Students organised a dance drama based on the life of Jesus Christ.

— Tribune reporters



16-week training for medical officers to tide over problem
Shortage of obstetricians at hospitals in Haryana
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 24
In order to solve the przoblem of shortage of obstetricians at hospitals in Haryana and to provide high-quality emergency obstetric care services in remote areas, the state government has embarked upon a unique programme in which a 16-week training is being imparted to government medical officers (MOs).

Dr Narveer Singh, director-general, health services, Haryana, said as many as 89 MBBS MOs had been imparted training so far in this field and out of them, 59 MOs had been certified.

While 16 MOs were issued certificates at a workshop organised by State Institute of Health and Family Welfare, Sector 6, Panchkula, on December 14, 2011, around 43 had already been given certificates in a similar workshop organised by the institute on Teacher’s Day (September 5, 2011).

These trained MOs would be deputed at first referral units established across the state, he said.

He added that PGIMS, Rohtak, had been identified as a tertiary centre for imparting training in emergency obstetric care services.

He said, “To provide emergency obstetric care services at first referral units, community health centres, sub-divisional hospitals, there must be a doctor and considering this need, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, has been selected as a second tertiary centre for imparting training to medical officers.”



Sufi gayan, classical dance mark ‘Jashan-e-Zindagi’
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 24
A veritable mix of sufi gayen, ghazals and the classical dance by acclaimed maestros of respective realms of art marked the ‘Jashan-e-Zindagi’ porgramme organised by a Delhi based society ‘Sanjhe Rang Punjab De’ at the Bal Bhawan auditorium, Sector 23, here today.

The captivating concert dedicated to Shiela Didi, a prominent artist and legal luminary commenced with the recital of ghazals by Begum Munir Khatun from Allahabad.

She opened up with a ghazal, ‘Adam sakute sham-e-khiza hai kareeb aa jaao’ and she doled out more ghazals like ‘Kab hui kahtam raat and Mujh ko meri wafa ka sila mil gya’ in her ‘kirana gharana’ traditional style.

Academician and versatile singer Dr Madan Gopal Singh took the centre stage to delineate the element of sufiana in his opening spell of ‘Anal Haqe Sabak Sidak’ by Sultan Bahu before soulful renditions from Heer Waris, the slumbering love legend of Punjab. After another philosophical composition gyan ki jadiya.

He enthralled the audience with Bulleh Shah’s boisterous kalaam, ‘tere ishaq nachaya’, and many from the audience danced in ecstasy.

Well known classical danseur, Navtej Johar, provided grand finale to the musical evening with enchanting dance spell displaying his adroit mastery over the art with spontaneous improvisations.



Hunger, cold claim life of another cub
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 24
Hunger and cold claimed the life of another panther cub in the forest area of Pinjore this morning.

The carcass of the four-month-old cub was found a few yards away from the spot where a dead cub was found yesterday.

As per information, a team of forest official team led by inspector Dharambir had seen the cubs a few days ago.The team, however, returned immediately from the area fearing that the mother of the two might attack them.

The postmortem report confirmed natural death of the cub due to hunger and cold.

RK Sapra, wildlife chief warden, said the two cubs might have separated from their mother, which might have strayed into some other forest area in the region. He said a majority of these cubs hardly survived. He added that there were about 27 panthers in Pinjore and Morni and the forest department would soon conduct a census.

Meanwhile, a panther, which was caught by the residents of Barwala, has succumbed to its injuries at Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir zoo near Banur in Mohali district.

However, District Forest Officer (wildlife) RK Sharma was not available for comments.



CAT stays implementation
Health Ministry had stopped NPA of pre-2006 PGI retirees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Chandigarh Bench, has stayed the implementation of orders issued by the Ministry of Health in 2009, in which it had stopped non-practising allowance (NPA) of members of the PGI faculty who had retired before 2006.

A petition filed by Dr SM Bose and others had stated that the ministry had issued these orders following the publication of the report of the Sixth Pay Commission.

The petitioners had alleged that this had led to discrepancy in the pension amount being paid to the faculty members retiring before 2006 and afterwards.

In January, 2011, the petitioners had submitted a detailed representation to the authorities concerned, requesting for the removal of the anomaly.

It was appealed that various courts had already held that there could not be any discrimination between pre-2006 and post-2006 pensioners.

Advocate DS Patwalia, appearing on behalf of Dr Bose and 42 other faculty members, including former directors, deans and professors, had argued that this discrepancy in the pension amount among people in the same category was discriminatory, illogical and illegal.

The authorities concerned had not applied their mind while issuing the order, he had added. The tribunal deferred the hearing for January 5, 2012.



Fire at seven kiosks
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 24
Seven kiosks were burnt in a fire that broke out in the Guru Nanak Market, Phase I, around midnight. A major tragedy was averted as the fire was witnessed by a police patrol party which immediately informed the fire brigade. Even a person sleeping in a dhaba that had caught fire was asked to move out.

A number of fire engines reached the spot fearing a big mishap, but the situation was brought under control well in time. However, seven shopkeepers have suffered losses due to the blaze.

Bags, utensils and watches were sold at these shops. Two units were used for stitching clothes and one was a dhaba.

The cause of fire, however, could not be ascertained.



SAD decides on Harjinder as mayoral candidate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) held a meeting today. It was chaired by NS Minhas. Members decided that a recommendation be sent to the high command that Harjinder Kaur should be considered as mayoral candidate.

The chairman and patron of the unit, Gurcharan Singh Pallia, said they were certain of the party having its councillor-elect in the mayoral seat.

BJP councillor-elect Arun Sood said it was strange that the SAD was staking its claim to BJP support for its mayoral candidate though no SAD leader had communicated it to the BJP.



Poll code
Interviews of firemen put off

Mohali, December 24
The Mohali municipal council has indefinitely postponed the interviews of firemen, as the code of conduct has been enforced in connection with the coming Assembly elections.

About 100 applicants for the posts of fireman were to be interviewed on December 26 and 27. Administrator of the council JC Sabharwal said fresh dates would be sought from the Election Commission for holding the interviews. — OC



Kaura murder
Police probing tower location
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The police is trying to obtain the tower location of Dr Deepak Kaura a week before his murder. A SIM card was purchased on a fake ID and used exclusively for making conversations with him.

The police was trying to find the person who was in constant touch with Dr Kaura all these days and suspected him to be behind the murder.

Dr Kaura, a resident of Sector 19 and owner of Oxford Hospital, was found murdered in his car at Dera Bassi three days ago. An unidentified woman was last seen with him.



Workshop on inclusive education held
Tribune News Service

The training workshop on inclusive education under way at the GMHSSS of Mani Majra in Chandigarh. a tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 24
A two-day training workshop on inclusive education was organised at GMHSSS Mani Majra. JS Jayara, principal of the Institute for Blind, spoke on the occasion.

The programme was organised in collaboration with the education department under the chairmanship of Kund Bala, school principal.

The focus of the workshop was to make all teachers aware of the latest developments in the field of inclusive education.

As many as 60 teachers attended the programme. They were given tips on identification of children with special need (CWSN).

They were given training tips on development, modern assistive devices and the Act in this regard, according to which persons with disability could avail themselves of opportunities, rights’ protection and full participation.



Tiny tots steal hearts
Tribune News Service

Students of Strawberry Fields Kindergarten perform at their sporty musical soiree in Chandigarh on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 24
Music and sports were fused together at Strawberry Fields Kindergarten’s annual sporty musical soiree, a 90-minute event, here today.

Tiny tots in the age group of two to four year regaled the audience with their antics, prancing and well-choreographed movements.

Doing things they loved, they enacted portions from different sequences, bringing alive circuses, animal farms, the English countryside, a world of colours and magical fairy tales.



SCD Govt College win

Chandigarh, December 24
SCD Govt College, Ludhiana, b PGGCG 11, to enter the semifinal of the PU Inter-College Handball (Men) Tournament.

Results: SCD Govt College, Ludhiana, b PGGCG 11, Chd, score: 28-18. GGDSD College, Chd, b GN College, Narangwal: Score-32-18. DAV College, Chd, b PU,: Score-34-21. SGGS College, Chd, b SGGS Khalsa College, Mahilpur: Score-13-11 League matches GGD SD College, Chd, b SCDGC, Ludhiana: Score-29-27. DAV College, Chd, b SGGS College, Chd: Score-20-07.



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