C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT gets serious about Sukhna
Tells Punjab, Haryana to ban high-rises in catchment area
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The UT Administration has asked the governments of Punjab and Haryana to stop construction of high-rise buildings in the Sukhna catchment area. In a letter forwarded to both the states, the Administration has also raised the points of the Punjab and Haryana High Court order which has banned construction in the catchment area. The Tribune was the first to highlight the issue of construction activity in the catchment area.

A senior official of the Administration said construction activity was going on in the Kansal area where people had constructed five or six floor residential buildings, which would be harmful for Sukhna Lake. He further said the authorities concerned were not checking the construction activity.

The High Court had already constituted a committee for the demarcation of the catchment area near the lake. The committee had been constituted to ensure that there was no illegal construction in the catchment area and had been asked to submit a report on February 13.

Acting on a petition filed in public interest to save the lake, a Division Bench of the High Court had on March 14, 2011, banned construction of any kind in the catchment area falling in Haryana and Punjab.

Building projects, particularly societies, are a major concern in the area, especially the changed tracts of the rivulets feeding the lake. Constructions have blocked the natural path of these rivulets, which pose a threat to fields and even buildings next to the original tract.

The issue of haphazard constructions in the areas falling in Punjab and Haryana and adjoining Sukhna has assumed bigger significance with big realtors coming up with mega residential projects.

‘Casual’ Admn

When the Punjab and Haryana High Court banned the construction activity, the amicus curiae in the case, advocate Tanu Bedi had questioned the casual approach of the UT Administration towards the lake and for failing to keep a check on the increasing rate of urbanisation in the catchment area. She had contended that if the urbanisation trend was not checked at this stage, the lake would die.



Two complaints against police a day, reveals RTI
Aneesha Sareen/TNS

Chandigarh, January 4
The city witnesses at least two cases of rude behaviour and neglect of duty against the police every day. The official data of neglect of duty and rude attitude at the public window of the police headquarters has been put at 600 in 2011 by the authorities as part of the information provided to this correspondent under the RTI.

A senior police official put the approximate number of complaints submitted to the Police Complaint Authority and the Human Rights Commission at “200 during the same period. The figures are reflective of the average”.

Disappointed at the behaviour of the police and the treatment meted out to them, over 48 persons approached senior police officials with complaints last month, reveals the RTI. These complaints range from delay in verification, rude behaviour of policemen, non-registration of FIRs, harassment and non-redress of complaints.

All the complaints have been addressed to senior police officials, who marked them to the respective department for speedy redress. In addition to these complaints, around 200 complaints against the police poured in at the Police Complaints Authority last year. Departmental inquiries are pending in several such cases.

As per the statistics available, all the complainants had approached the public window at the police headquarters, but were not satisfied with the treatment of the police to their complaints. The revelation lays bare the claims of the police of easy redress of public grievances.

“Most of the complaints are of delay in verification or non-registration of FIRs. We have been striving hard to see that the common man faces minimal harassment with our people friendly initiatives, many of which have borne fruit. Sometimes, the complainants are not satisfied following which they lodge a complain at the public window,” said a senior police official.

Besides the complaints against the police, the public window has been receiving complaints of matrimonial disputes (71), cheating (183), threats (191) and trespassing (32) every month.



Election panel sets cash limit
Registration of property in Mohali hit
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 4
The move by the Election Commission to limit the carrying of cash to Rs 2.5 lakh during the period of the model code of conduct has left the coffers of the state exchequer empty.

Due to the set “unaccounted” cash limit, the daily property transactions registered with the sub-registrars at Mohali, Kharar and Dera Bassi have come down drastically. This is resulting in a daily loss of around Rs 1.16 crore to the state on account of income from the stamp duty charged on every property transaction in the district.

Sources said at the Mohali office of the sub-registrar alone, around 50 property transactions were registered daily before the enforcement of the model code of conduct. The monthly income from the district to the state exchequer was around Rs 35 crore. But now, less than 10 cases turn up at the office. Similar is the situation at Dera Bassi and Kharar.

Officials at the sub-registrar’s office, quoting the figures of the “Statistical Abstract of Punjab 2010”, said the value of the 5,850 properties registered during 2008-2009 in Mohali was valued at Rs 2,900 crore.

Another reason being attributed to the low rate of registration was slump coupled with the election that could see change of government.

Not ready to comment on the issue, a senior official in the district administration said the rules of the Election Commission were very clear. Anything above Rs 2.5 lakh had to be accounted for. “If money above the specified limit can be accounted for, there should be no problem for buyers and sellers to get their property registered. The intention of the commission is to ensure that black money is not used during the Assembly elections in the state,” he said.



DC wants out, seeks repatriation
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Brijendra Singh Chandigarh, January 4
The UT Administration, which is already facing a shortage of senior officials, is set to lose Deputy Commissioner (DC) Brijendra Singh who has sought repatriation to his parent state Haryana. In an application forwarded to the Administration, the DC has mentioned personal reasons for going back to Haryana.

Sources revealed that the letter was initially forwarded to the home department and later to the office of UT Administrator Shivraj Patil. The tenure of the DC, who is on leave till January 10, is slated to end on September 13.

Giving grounds for his repatriation, the DC has only mentioned “personal reasons”. Brijendra Singh, a 1998 batch IAS officer and son of Congress leader Birender Singh, had joined the Administration as DC on September 14, 2009.

There are a number of other officers who are on the verge of transfer or repatriation to their parent cadre. These include Director Higher Education (DHE) Ajoy Sharma, CITCO Managing Director DK Tiwari, MC Commissioner Prerna Puri and Joint Secretary Finance SS Khara.

Senior officials are holding the charge of multiple departments and if they are transferred or repatriated, the situation will worsen.

Finance Secretary VK Singh is holding the charge of 15 departments while the Home Secretary is heading 17 departments.

On the way out

  • DC Brijendra Singh wants to go back to parent cadre Haryana
  • Director Higher Education Ajoy Sharma wants to return to parent cadre Punjab
  • MC Commissioner Prerna Puri has been transferred to Arunachal Pradesh
  • CITCO MD DK Tiwari’s tenure extended till his replacement is found
  • Joint Secretary Finance SS Khara wants to return to parent cadre Punjab

False alarm

Speculation was rife last year that DC Brijendra Singh was eager to contest the Hisar Lok Sabha seat elections. However, the Congress gave the ticket to Jai Prakash.



Ambala schoolboy succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Nine-year-old Pankaj Kumar, a victim of the Ambala school van accident, succumbed to his injuries at the neurosurgery department of the PGI here today, taking the toll to 12. His death has left his family shattered as they were praying for his recovery before his birthday on Friday.

Meanwhile, out of the six children admitted at the GMCH-32, three — Shubam, Isha and Aman — are in a serious condition. The other three — Navneet, Sahil and Nandini — have been shifted from surgical emergency to the wards and are reported to be stable.


Land mafia choking Patila Ki Rao rivulet
Raising stone crate wall has reclaimed a large part of its natural course
Tribune News Service

Nadha (Mohali), January 4
Taking advantage of the areas de listed from the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), 1900, the natural course of Patila Ki Rao seasonal rivulet passing through Nadha village is being “choked” by land mafia in the area. Raising stone crate wall has reclaimed a large part of the natural course of the rivulet.

Officials in the Forest Department said that the land, though partially private, cannot be reclaimed as falls in the rivulet. But shift the responsibility to the officials of the drainage department. Due to the blame game, the land mafia is having a free way in carving plots.

Sources said though the drainage department had issued notices, the land mafia have not stopped from raising the illegal construction. A visit to the spot revealed that plots of various sizes were being carved out without taking any permission from the competent authority. As one moves up stream, there are other cases of people blocking the natural course of the rivulet.

On similar lines, a large part of eco fragile ShvaliK Hill has been levelled to make way for a colony near the Bhima Devi Temple in Karoran village. Here also, the land mafia while taking advantage of the de-listed areas was slowly levelling the hillock. On getting a tip off, a team of the forest officials visited the spot. The case has been forwarded to the Additional Chief Administrator of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for necessary action.

The officials said even after de listing of the areas under the PLPA, the landowners cannot exploit the land for commercial purpose. The nature of the land can not be changed and should be related to agriculture. But at the spot, the landowners were commercially exploiting the land by carving out plots and that also without obtaining any clearance from the competent authority.

Due to confusion over the custodian of the area de listed from the PLPA, the violators are taking advantage.



Relief for Raipur Rani, Barwala residents
Permission now must for setting up of poultry farms
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 4
Residents of Raipur Rani and Barwala areas in the district facing fly menace for decades can expect relief soon. The Haryana State Pollution Control Board has decided to bring poultry farms under consent management. Following this, no new poultry farm will be allowed to be set up in the area without prior permission and will be under constant watch of the environment department.

Orders have already been issued to the regional authorities that all the poultry farms existing in the area are to be checked and a list of poultry farms with birds over one lakh be prepared.

In fact, under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, any industry, operation or process or an extension and addition thereto, which is likely to discharge sewerage or trade effluent into the environment or likely to emit any air pollution into the atmosphere, has to obtain consent of the state pollution control board.

As there were no rules and regulations to regulate the working of poultry farms in the state, all efforts in this regard by the district administration proved ineffective.

The state government however moved in this direction after disposing of a public interest litigation field by president of Shivalik Vikas Manch Vijay Bansal, the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the state government on September 5 last year to take action within one month.

The residents of the area have been facing health hazards ever since the area attracted poultry farm owners for investment about two decades ago. Over 150 poultry farms located in this area house nearly one crore birds. The excreta and feed of the birds provide favourable conditions, particularly in rainy season, for the breeding of larvae due to which the houses in the area are swarming with flies. The area even witnessed group clashes over the setting up of new poultry farms in the area.

After the rules and regulations for the monitoring of poultry farms are notified the things are set to change in a big way for the betterment, as the offenders will be liable to heavy penalties, said an official at pollution board.



CHB mulls two officials’ retirement on Feb 29
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Caught in a peculiar situation, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is looking into the possibility of retiring two senior officials, with only one post having been sanctioned.

While acting Chief Engineer GS Rosha will retire on February 29, Chief Engineer SK Jain, who presently has been working on deputation with the Integrated Multi-Transit System in Delhi, put in his papers under the voluntarily retirement scheme (VRS) on December 1.

Sources said if Jain’s case was cleared, he would also retire along with Rosha.

“Against one sanctioned post, how can two officers retire the same day? This case is surely complicated and based on technical aspects,” said a senior official of the CHB on the condition of anonymity.

In fact, the official went quiet on his own question and added “Very interesting, but I do not have any answer.”

Admitting that the case was complicated, CHB Secretary MM Sabharwal said the establishment branch was looking into technicalities. “I will comment in a day or two,” he said.

Another senior official of the board said Jain’s case was in process. “There were lot of things to be cleared before approving his VRS.

“Let us see what decision the board takes,” he said. UT Chief Engineer SK Jaitely would also retire on February 29.



Civil Surgeon submits report on ‘kidney scam’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 4
The Civil Surgeon, Mohali, Usha Bansal, submitted an inquiry report on the “kidney scam” to the Deputy Commissioner, Varun Roojam, here late this evening. In her report, around 175 transplants done in the last over one year at Surya Kidney Centre, Sector 69, have been examined.

Though the contents of the report could not be ascertained, sources said all cases, both that of unrelated donors and the second category of related donors within the state and outside the state, had been examined. In most cases, a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the State Approval Committee and the District Level Committee had not been taken.

It is learnt that the inquiry official has sought physical verification of the related and unrelated donors. To carry forward the investigation, the verification of the authorisation from the states from where the donor and the recipient belong, has also been sought.

The mandatory provision under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, entails that an NoC has to be sought from the State Approval Committee and the district health authorities where the transplant was being undertaken.

While the Civil Surgeon could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, the Deputy Commissioner said he could comment only after going through the contents of the report.



Surprise checks at 6 pvt hospitals in Zirakpur
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 4
The Punjab Pollution Control Board today conducted a surprise check at six private hospitals in Zirakpur, Baltana, Pabhat and inspected health care facilities to check the violations of the Bio-Medical Waste rules, 1998.

Divulging the information, Tejwant Singh Gill, XEN in EPA cell, stated that during inspection four hospitals out of six were found violating the provisions of BMW rules.

He said the team of EPA cell found JP Hospital and Chaitanya Hospital complying to BMW rules while Ashirwad Hospital, Chandigarh Lab Services, SS Hospital and Tara Hospital were violating the norms of BMW.

According to the BMW rules, the authorities of the hospitals have to segregate bio-medical waste into different containers as per the set colour code, he added. He said after getting the reports that about the violation of BMW rules, the team raided the hospitals.



MC removes encroachments at Phase VII in Mohali
Our Correspondent

MC employees remove encroachments from outside a shop in Phase IIIB-II in Mohali on Wednesday
MC employees remove encroachments from outside a shop in Phase IIIB-II in Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali , January 4
The tehbazari wing of the Municipal Council targeted Phase VII and removed all encroachments put up by shopkeepers during a drive carried out here today. Verandhas in the market areas have been encroached upon by the shopkeepers to display and stock various items sold by them.

Almost the entire market was freed of encroachments during the drive carried out under the supervision of executive officer Jagjit Singh Shahi.

Shahi said that various types of items put up in the verandahs, especially by those who were running eating joints, were seized during the drive.

When shopkeepers saw the civic body employees in action many of them removed their belongings. Heated arguments between employees and shopkeepers took place at certain places.

One person had put up a stall for selling garments in the parking area without taking any permission to do so. His stall was also removed After long arguments. Several rehris were also seized by the team.

Yesterday, the drive was carried out in Phases III B 2, V and VI. The executive officer said that though the tehbazari wing of the council was facing staff shortage, extra employees were engaged to carry out the drive.

The civic body will now carry out such drives on a regular basis and nobody will be allowed to encroach on the verandahs in the market areas which were meant to be used by shoppers.



Rs 70-lakh project awarded to CBRI
Preservation of Capitol Complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
The UT Administration has awarded a project of Rs 70 lakh to the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, to preserve the buildings in Capitol Complex. The Capitol Complex includes the civil secretariat, assembly hall, open hand monument and Punjab and Haryana high court.

Finance secretary VK Singh said they had awarded the project and now the experts and scientists of CBRI would prepare a report on these buildings and how these buildings could be preserved.

He further added that they had asked CBRI experts to submit the report as early as possible so that the administration could take further step towards preserving these buildings.

The administration has also asked CBRI to calculate the estimated life of these structures. At several places in Capitol Complex, unauthorised modifications in the exterior of the buildings have been made by the departments housed there using steel frames and grills. These too will be removed as part of the restoration.



Panchkula MC to launch its website soon
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 4
“Residents can hope for a better service at the municipal corporation as the Panchkula Municipal Corporation is all set to launch its own website soon. A total of 12 companies have shown interest for the purpose and it will not take long time to start it after finalising the name of the company, said KK Jain, the executive officer of the corporation.

The highlight of the website will be its online complaint cell, said Jain.

For lodging any complaint regarding the functions being looked after by the corporation, the residents need not visit the MC office. They only have to file the complaint online and the employees manning the website will forward the complaint to the officials concerned through an SMS. The official concerned will have to address the complaint within a fixed time period, added Jain.

It was in June last year that the MC officials mooted to develop a site of the civic body and a meeting was also held with the district information officer (DIO).

While the site will have profile of every ward councillor and his contact number, the residents will be able to get information regarding their house tax dues, list of contractors, sectors, roads, parks, streetlights being looked after by the municipal corporation, the executive officer said.



Residents told to provide info on domestic help to police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
To put a check on anti-social elements, the UT District Magistrate has directed residents or owners of establishments here to furnish information before employing any domestic help, helper or even part-time maids at their respective police station.

The DM has also ordered the landlords/owners and managers of paying-guest accommodations to inform the antecedents of paying guests staying at their accommodations to the police with immediate effect.

The order issued under Section 144 of the CrPc made it clear that the offenders would be liable to be prosecuted under Section 188 of the IPC.

The order will be effective till March 3.



Abandoned infant’s parents yet to arrive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
A day after the police traced the parents of the one-month-old infant to a remote village in Moradabad, none of them appeared before the police today. The girl, was abandoned by her mother on December 22 at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16. The parents of the girl had been traced and were expected in the city today.

Since the family was not able to bear the expenses of the child’s treatment, they deserted her at the hospital and went to the village. When the police contacted them on their mobile phone, they said they would come back.

“We were expecting the parents today. We will wait for a day or two. If they still fail to arrive, a team will be sent to arrest them,” said the investigating officer.



No UPE status for PU
Amritsar university makes the cut
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
In what is bound to dampen its spirits, Panjab University (PU) has failed to achieve the acclaimed UGC status of University with Potential for Excellence (UPE), losing out on much-required funds of Rs 50 crore.

What adds insult to injury is the fact that Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, which is relatively nascent and is generally perceived as second to PU in all aspects, has bagged the status, winning laurels from the UGC for hard work, which coupled with funds, will lead to holistic development.

A total number of 31 universities, including two from Punjab, had sent proposals. The standing committee on the UPE shortlisted 10 universities, based on the eligibility criteria prescribed in the financial plan guidelines.

While Panjab University figured in the 10 universities shortlisted, it failed to make it to the final six which would get Rs 50 crore as grant, spanning five years.

The UPE was the most acclaimed financial support scheme of the UGC, aimed to provide substantial support to select Indian universities to make those comparable to world-class universities by enabling those “to adapt to modern methods of teaching and learning, developing learner-friendly lecture material, changing their evaluation methods and striving for excellence to sustain themselves in this competitive world”.

While UGC officials refused to come on record till the list of universities selected was put on the website, one of the members of the standing committee revealed, “It has come as shock that the PU has lost to smaller and new universities. The PU proposal, though ambitious, lacked focus. It seemed that it wanted to accomplish too much in funds, but there was no conviction in the action plan.”

11th Financial Plan’s universities with potential with excellence

  • Benares Hindu University, Osmania University, Mysore University, Karnataka University, Guru Nanak Dev University, Rajasthan University

10th Financial Plan’s universities with potential with excellence

  • Mumbai University, NEHU, Madurai Kamaraj University, Calcutta University

9th Financial Plan’s universities with potential with excellence

  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, Hyderabad University, Jadavpur University, Pune University, Madras University


  • Accreditation of the NAAC with five stars in the five-point grading system of the NAAC or A grade and above in nine-point grading system or A grade under the new grading system introduced in 2007
  • Well-established and regularly functioning internal quality assurance cell, as recommended by NAAC
  • Prepared yearly reports of quality sustenance and enhancement since past accreditation by NAAC
  • At least one centre for advance study or two departments of special assistance in any subject

While PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti, away to Bhubaneswar, did not answer calls and messages, Dean University Instruction and acting Vice-Chancellor BS Brar claimed ignorance about the development. A senior official said,” Our overconfidence spoiled things for us. The UPE proposal was apparently a please-all exercise, trying to put needs and aspirations of over 30 departments in it.”



‘Warden called Vineet hours before his death’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
“The warden of DAV Public School hostel in Sector 8, Ashwini, had called Vineet Sharma from his cellphone at 7 pm on Saturday. He was in touch with the student a few hours before he was found dead. Vineet was with me when he left to meet the warden.

The next morning, I was shocked to hear that my friend was no more and had mysteriously died in his hostel room,” said Abhishek, a BCom student of Khalsa College and close friend of the deceased. He was recording his statement to the police today.

Four days after the mysterious death of the 16-year-old school student in his hostel room in Sector 8, the police have failed to take any action against the warden, despite numerous allegations by friends and family that the warden, Ashwini, used to torture Vineet and was responsible for his death. His friends also alleged that the warden had failed to take attendance of the students that night.

Refusing to believe that the death could be suicide, Abhishek said he was with Vineet the entire Saturday evening and Vineet was looking forward to his visit to his hometown Kullu. “He died on Saturday night and I was with him the entire evening at the Sector-7 market. He received a call from the warden, following which he told him that he would be there in 10 minutes,” said Abhishek.

Another close friend of the student, Pawan repeatedly called Vineet the entire night and there was no response. “The warden was holding Vineet’s wallet and phone on finding the body. Vineet had dinner at 8.30 pm. We suspect he had been poisoned,” he said.

“The warden used to torture him a lot. He has always been complaining about him. He once told me that he knew many things about him,” said Renu Sharma sister of the deceased.

Will cross-examine

We have recorded the statements of various members of the family and friends of the deceased. The call details of the victim as well as the warden are being verified to verify the allegations. All statements will be cross-examined and we will be ready with some conclusions soon

— Desraj Singh, ASP (Central)



Dramatics trophy for DAV College club
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 4
Maintaining the rhythm of wining trophies, ‘Aaghaaz’, the dramatics club of DAV College once again won the dramatics trophy at IIT, Mumbai. The club again proved its worth at Mood Indigo Fest, Asia's biggest Youth Fest. The on-act play performed by them won the first position, competing with 62 plays.

The team also won the best outstation contingent trophy and a karaoke competition, with over 600 colleges from all over the country participating.

Arshad Iqbal won the best actor award and a month’s training at Anupam Kher’s acting school. The one-act play team was preparing for the open nationals, to be held at Mangalore this month.



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