C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


SIT to probe ‘kidney scam’
Directed to submit report within 45 days
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 5
A special investigation team (SIT) under the Superintendent of Police (Detective), Mohali, has been constituted to go deep into the facts of the kidney scam that was recently busted by the Lucknow police and verify the credentials of the documents on the basis of which 227 kidney transplants of unrelated and related cases from outside the state were carried out at two local hospitals, Surya Kidney Centre, Sector 69, and Silver Oaks Hospital, Sector 63.

The SIT constituted on the basis of findings of the inquiry conducted by Civil Surgeon Usha Bansal, has been asked to submit a detailed report within the next 45 days. The SIT has been asked to coordinate with the state authorities concerned and verify the credentials of the recipients and donors and also the authorisation documents issued by the respective states. The SSP, Mohali, GPS Bhullar, said the SIT had already started the probe.

The Civil Surgeon, while examining a total of 286 cases operated in the last two years, beginning January 2010, has suggested verification of the videography of the transplants of both donors and recipients. Though the inquiry official has not found any anomaly in the processing of cases related to kidney transplants by the local hospitals, the recent busting of the human trafficking case by the Lucknow police has been taken into consideration while constituting the SIT.

A five-member team headed by the Civil Surgeon probed the cases. The probe team of health officials has pointed out that in most unrelated cases from other states, the authorisation from the Punjab State Organ Transplant Approval Committee and the state of the donor concerned had not been taken, which was necessary as per an earlier Act.

But the team members were told by the two hospital authorities that after a ruling of the Supreme Court, an amendment was carried out after which such dual approval was not required.

The DC, Varun Roojam, who was given the inquiry report by the Civil Surgeon, said the police had been asked to check if the no-objection certificates and other documents received from other states for carrying out the operations were genuine. Physical verification of the donors would also have to be undertaken.

The Civil Surgeon was marked the inquiry by the Deputy Commissioner after the DIG of Police, Lucknow, claimed of having busted a gang engaged in human organ trafficking. Four persons were arrested for luring unsuspecting donors to the two hospitals. The charge of being involved in organ trafficking was, however, denied by the authorities of both the hospitals.

According to the documents collected by the health officials from the hospitals, most of the donors were from UP and Bihar and some others from MP, Orissa and Nepal.

As per documents presented to the health officials, Silver Oak Hospital had been functioning since 2003 and Surya Hospital from 2011. Silver Oak Hospital had taken permission from the Director, Research and Medical Education, Punjab, to carry out kidney transplants. The DC said as per the inquiry report, the hospitals had received no-objection certificates from the authorities concerned in connection with kidney transplants carried out by them in the case of unrelated cases and paper work had been completed by them. On December 27, the DC asked the Civil Surgeon to inquire into the racket.

Scanned cases

Of the total 286 cases, 54 unrelated cases from outside Punjab in connection with kidney transplant surfaced from Surya Hospital while 31 cases figured in the records of Silver Oak Hospital. In the category of related cases, Surya Hospital recorded 66 cases from outside Punjab and 32 from within the state. Silver Oak Hospital recorded 76 cases from outside the state and 27 from within Punjab.

Confusion over NoC

There is confusion among the medical faculty over guidelines to take NoC from the state where the transplants are being conducted. The DC said as per the September 2011 letter issued by the state health authorities, an NoC is mandatory, but prior to it, a Supreme Court ruling is being cited by the hospitals that does not mandate taking an NoC from the state.

Second organ transplant scam

In January 2003, a special investigation team (SIT) of the Punjab Police had busted a major kidney scam in Amritsar involving financial transactions worth Rs 150 crore. The SIT had said the then authorisation committee had overlooked financial deals among donors and recipients of the kidneys. It was pointed out that the committee had issued clearance in hundreds of cases on forged documents.



3 police post in charge suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Three UT Sub-Inspectors (SIs), posted as police post in charge, were suspended after they were found absent from their respective locations during a drive to check police vigilance in the wake of the rising cases of snatching and theft here today. Senior police officials suspended them during a surprise check.

Inspector Jaswinder Kaur, in charge of the Sector 43 police post, Sub-Inspector Jaspal, in charge of the Sector 61 police post, and Sub-Inspector Jaiveer, in charge of the Bapu Dham post, were suspended and transferred to the police lines. They have been summoned to the police headquarters tomorrow for a hearing.

Special nakas were set up this morning from 10 am to 12 pm. All the in charge of the police posts were issued directions not to leave their positions. However, three of them were found absent during a surprise check following which they were suspended and transferred to the police lines. The police had set up a total of 42 barriers across the city, which were randomly checked by senior police officials.



Faux pas leaves CBI red in the face
Pulled up for applying wrong Section in corruption case
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was left red-faced today when special CBI Judge Ritu Tagore pulled up its officials for arresting an accused when the specific charges did not even apply to him. The agency sleuths had yesterday arrested Dinesh Kumar, a former senior assistant with the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, for posing as a CBI official and allegedly demanding money from a Ropar resident. Dinesh Kumar was not working with the agency and could not be booked Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act as the Section was applicable only to public servants. He was dismissed from service while working with the local bodies department, Punjab, in 2010.

When this fact came before the court, the Judge asked the sleuths why he had been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act when he was no longer a public servant. The court also pulled up the CBI for producing the accused after 4 pm. The CBI was directed to produce the accused before another court.

Realising their mistake, the CBI sleuths registered a fresh case under Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) and 420 of the IPC and produced the accused before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, who sent him to two-day police remand.

Dinesh Kumar initially demanded Rs 2 lakh from the complainant and later reduced the sum to Rs 50,000. The complainant had a CBI complaint pending against him. The CBI laid a trap at the Sector 23 bus stop and caught him red-handed.

In haste

Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, which was slapped against the accused, is applicable only against public servants. But Dinesh Kumar was dismissed by the Punjab Government in 2010 and hence, the Section was not applicable to him.



Former councillor Arshad Khan dead
Tribune News Service

Arshad Khan
Arshad Khan

Chandigarh, January 5
Thirtyseven-year-old Arshad Khan, former nominated councillor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, died of a cardiac arrest here today. He was the first nominated councillor in the history of the corporation and was given ticket by the Congress to contest from Ward No. 26 in the elections held recently.

He was declared brought dead at the PGI emergency ward around 2 pm today. However, his medical card was made at 4.20 pm.

A doctor who examined the body said a bluish tinge was visible on the face and lips of the deceased. The body has been kept at the PGI mortuary and a postmortem is likely to be conducted tomorrow.

Arshad collapsed in his office at the IT park, Chandigarh, and was rushed to the PGI.

A close friend of Arshad said he had been suffering from a heart ailment for the last four years and was taking medication regularly. His condition started deteriorating a few days ago due to exertion and pressure of campaigning.

Several sitting and former Congress councillors, including the Mayor, Raj Bala Malik, rushed to the PGI.

“Where has my son gone? He would never leave me alone. How can he go away like this? I want to take him to Hyderabad. Please book our tickets for tomorrow,” his wailing mother Circa Khan lamented.

His burial is likely to take place in Hyderabad, his hometown.



2 watchmen found murdered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 5
Two watchmen of a company involved in installing high-tension electricity wire towers were found murdered in the fields of Khatauli village, near here, today. The deceased have been identified as Mujib-ur-Rehman (19) and his brother-in-law Ansur Ali (55), both from West Bengal.

While the cause of the murder could not be ascertained, workers at the company said theft seemed to be the motive behind the crime as some equipment was missing.

Rafi-ul-Islam, Mujib’s father, said it had only been a month since he along with his son and son-in-law had taken up the job with the company. The victims used to stay in a tent in the fields at night to look after the equipment. “When I went for work at 9 am today, I saw their bodies lying in a pool of blood. They had no enmity with anyone,” said Rafi.

Forensic experts and a police party reached the spot and took various samples. It seemed that the heads of the deceased had been smashed repeatedly with a heavy object. At least three deep injuries were found on their skulls.

Deputy manager of the company Velu Soami said they suspected no one and were yet to confirm the amount of loss. A case has been registered.



UT Adviser marks inquiry into fuel scam
16,000-lt fuel worth Rs 8.91 lakh ‘went missing’ from CITCO station
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
UT Adviser KK Sharma today marked an inquiry into the siphoning off more than 16,000 litre of fuel, worth Rs 8.91 lakh, from the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO)-run petrol station in Sector 9, here today.

Sharma said he had ordered a time-bound vigilance inquiry into the case.

“Surely, the figure of evaporation of diesel raises suspicion and the guilty will be dealt with sternly,”said Sharma.

Notably, audit records of the petrol station had pointed out shortage of 8028.28 litre of petrol, 8,019 litre of diesel, 135 litre of speed petrol and 71.27 litre of hi-speed diesel from the petrol station in a period of six months from April 1 to October 31, this year. The above-mentioned shortage had been calculated after taking into consideration the ‘allowed loss’ due to evaporation of the products (for petrol, the ‘allowed loss’ due to evaporation is 0.60 per cent to 0.75 per cent, whereas for diesel it is 0.20 to 0.25 per cent).

A report of ‘missing fuel’ from the petrol station was highlighted in these columns on December 5.

Evaporation of over 8,000 litre of diesel after deducting the ‘allowed loss’ in just six months surely raises suspicion as the previous records of the corresponding period of past seven years clearly shows that the evaporation of diesel was always found less than the ‘allowed loss’ except two times.

While in 2004, allowed loss was 3,705 lt and actual evaporation was 1,781 lt, in 2006, allowed loss was 3,691 lt and actual evaporation was 2,384 lt, in 2007, allowed loss was 4,051 lt and actual evaporation was 2,836 lt, in 2008, allowed loss was 5,183 lt and actual evaporation was 1029 lt, in 2009, allowed loss was 5,792 lt and actual evaporation was 2,971 lt, the ‘actual evaporation’ of diesel was far less than the ‘allowed loss’ in the corresponding period each year, it was only in 2005 (allowed loss 3,982 lt and actual evaporation 4,131 lt) and 2010 (allowed loss 5,684 lt and actual evaporation 7,422 lt) that the evaporation was higher than the norms.

“But this was the first time that 8,019 lt of diesel had evaporated more than the ‘allowed loss’ of 5,626 lt,” said another senior official of the corporation.

Notably, this is the second such case of pilferage of fuel from CITCO-run petrol stations. Earlier, more than 18,067 litre of unleaded petrol, worth Rs 12 lakh, had gone missing from the CITCO-run petrol station in Sector 56 in just four-month-and-a-half, from April 1 to August 18, this year. CITCO authorities claimed to have issued a chargesheet to in charge of the Sector 56 petrol station following the vigilance department’s inquiry report.

As many as three petrol stations are being run by CITCO and the Sector-9 station caters to about 350 government departments of UT and Punjab, which purchase petrol/diesel on credit.



20 HVAC buses plying on short routes
Ordinary CTU buses for long distances, courtesy UT Admn

Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), despite having 20 heating-ventilation and air-conditioned (HVAC) buses purchased a year ago especially for long routes, is using ordinary non-AC buses to ferry passengers on long routes. Interestingly, HVAC buses are run on short distances, including Ambala, Baddi and Kalka, incurring losses worth lakhs.

This is not just depriving city residents of comfortable travel to faraway places, but also resulting in losses to the CTU.

The interior layout of buses has also been designed to facilitate long-distance travel, with a separate cabin for the driver.

Around a year back, the CTU had added 20 new long-route AC-buses to its fleet and each bus cost around Rs 30 lakh.

Soon after purchasing the buses, those were idly parked at CTU depots. The CTU decided to run the buses on local routes. However, being large-sized, those were pulled back from city routes.

Official sources said after the buses were purchased, the UT Administration issued directions to the CTU, stating that the buses be run on the local routes only.

“Earlier, there were directions that the buses be run within the city. However, later, the CTU started plying the buses in adjoining areas,” source said.

CTU Workers Union secretary Ranjit Singh Hans said the CTU should ply these buses on long routes, including Delhi, Jammu, Jaipur, Pathankot, Haldwani and Manali, for comfortable travel to passengers and more income for the CTU.

“All other state transports are running AC buses on long routes. However, the CTU, in spite of having 20 AC buses, is running ordinary buses on these routes, raising suspicion on the functioning of the administration,” he said.

Jagdish Singh, former CTU Workers Union president, said past year, they approached the UT Administrator for plying the buses on long routes, but their demand was turned down.

“We had presented figures to the Administrator that these buses would earn between Rs 14 and Rs 15 per kilometre on local routes, between Rs 25 and Rs 30 on semi-urban routes and between Rs 40 and Rs 50 on long routes. Our demand was turned down,” he said.

When contacted, Home-cum-Transport Secretary Anil Kumar said the priority was to cater to passengers on local routes adjoining the city.

“There is more demand for AC buses on local routes, following which these buses are run on short distances,” he further said.



Time for a break
2 top officials on leave, 2 to follow suit

Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
It is ‘chhutti’ time for UT ‘babus’. While CITCO Managing Director DK Tiwari and UT Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh have already gone on leave, UT Social Welfare Director Varsha Khangwal and UT Information Technology Director Yogesh Kumar will go on leave shortly. Tiwari, who has been holding seven departments, went to Dubai for eight days on holiday from today. He would rejoin on January 12.

In his absence, Chandigarh Housing Board Chairman Satya Gopal took charge of posts of Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Science and Technology, Tourism and Environment and Forests.

SDM (East) Tanvi Garg was given additional charge of ITDC, Director Health Education, and Special Secretary, Health and Medical Education and Research.

Anil Kumar, UT Home Secretary, would also function as Chief Electoral Officer, in addition to his own duties, during the period.

The UT DC, who had already applied for repatriation to his parent state Haryana, was already on 10-day leave with LTC.

Khangwal was sanctioned 24-day leave, starting from January 9. In her absence, Tanvi Garg would hold posts of CITCO Chief General Manager.

Rajesh Jogpal would take charge as CEO, CHB, Director, Social Welfare, MD, Chandigarh SC, BC and Minorities Financial and Development Corporation, and MD, Child and Women Development Corporation.

UT’s Director Public Relations Yogesh Kumar would go on leave on January 7, 8, 14 and 15.

Balbir Singh had been given his posts of Director, Information Technology, Director, Museum and Art and Gallery, Additional Director (Administration), Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Project Director, Beant Singh Memorial, and Superintendent, Model Jail.



UT villages go to the polls on Jan 21
Elections to zila parishad and panchayat samiti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Elections for nine zila parishad constituencies and 15 panchayat samiti constituencies in the city will be held on January 21. With this announcement, the model code of conduct has come into effect. This time, both elections will be held simultaneously, with approximately 32,941 voters casting their vote.

Announcing this here yesterday, UT Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta said around 18,800 voters were male and 13,600 female.

Mehta said the code of conduct would be restricted to villages and no new project or programme could be initiated or announced either by the government or the municipal corporation.

“There will be 47 polling booths, which will have two ballot boxes, one each for the zila parishad and panchayat samiti elections,” he said.

The Election Commissioner further said January 1 was the cut-off date and only voters registered before that date would be eligible to vote.

Areas under the panchayat samiti included Raipur Khurd, Raipur Kalan, Makhan Majra, Mauli Jagran I and II, Daria I and II, Kishangarh I and II, Kaimbwala, Khuda Alisher, Khuda Jassu, Khuda Lahora, Sarangpur, Dhanas and Behlana.

The election based on the 2001 Census would be conducted in all villages. Elections to the gram panchayat would be held in 2013.

Election schedule

  • Commencement of filling papers: January 6
  • Last date for filing nominations: January 11
  • Scrutiny of nominations: January 12
  • Last date for withdrawing papers: January 14
  • Date of polling: January 21
  • Counting of votes: January 23

Expenditure limit

  • The expenditure limit for each candidate has been fixed at Rs 30,000. Candidates will need to maintain accounts in the manner prescribed. They will have to submit those to the returning officers concerned within a month of the declaration of results.



Chandigarh scan
Medical camp

Girls were provided free medical check-up and free medicines at a medical check-up camp organised by the Fortis Hospital at Dhanas on Thursday. The camp, which was only for girls in the age group of 5 to 14 years, was organised in association with the Salaam Zindagi Charitable Trust to celebrate ‘Nanhi Chhaan Day’. The camp was conducted by a team of doctors and nurses led by Dr Pooja Gupta and Dr. Shilpa Priyadarshini.

Voter enrolment

The election department will organise a campaign from January 5 to 15 for the enrolment of electors, with focus on the age group of under-19 years. The campaign will be organised at all government senior secondary schools and colleges in the city.

Extra charge

The UT Administrator has appointed Anil Kumar, Home Secretary, the chief electoral officer. He will hold charge till January 12, the period for which DK Tiwari is on leave.

Awareness camp

An awareness camp was organised at the passing ground near the petrol station opposite Kala Gram at Mani Majra on Thursday. It was part of an awareness campaign on “Road Safety Week”, with the message “Accidents bring tears, safety brings cheer”. At least 200 drivers attended the camp. Mahavir Kaushik, Secretary of the State Transport Authority, addressed the drivers and attendants on different aspects of road safety.


The following have been elected office-bearers of the Sargodha Cooperative House Building Society: president- Beant Singh; vice-president- Vijander Kumar; general secretary- Bhupinder Singh; and cashier- Kapil Vohra.

— Tribune reporters



PU to carry out physico-chemical analysis of Sukhna Lake
Rajinder Nagarkoti

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
To tide over problems such as silting, depleting water table and water contamination at Sukhna Lake, the UT administration has given the project to Panjab University (PU) to carry out a ‘physico-chemical analysis’ (water tests) of the lake. Earlier, the project was given to the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, but recently the institute pulled back from the project.

Recently, the PU’s zoology department had submitted a presentation before the UT administration and finally it was selected by the administration and the project was awarded to PU.

A senior official of the UT administration said the project was awarded for two years and now the experts from the department of zoology at Panjab University would analyse water samples from the lake for physico-chemical characteristics of water. The official added that the UT administration had agreed to pay Rs 10 lakh to Panjab University to conduct the study.

In the project, the experts would conduct tests on a monthly-basis and later would submit their detailed report to the UT administration. In the detailed report, the experts would also suggest ways to tackle the problem as well.

Sources added that the reason behind giving the project to the Panjab University was that it was a local institute and it would be easy for the UT administration to coordinate with the experts of the university.



Stray dog menace
Mohali MC to go for dog sterlisation in a big way
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 5
The Municipal Council is planning to check the menace of stray dogs by going in for sterlisation in a big way and also asking higher authorities to provide additional staff and a cattle-catcher van.

The administrator of the civic body, JC Sabharwal, said that teams of veterinary doctors would be increased to carry out sterlisation on a massive scale. He was also writing to the higher authorities to provide a cattle-catcher van and more employees for the purpose.

He said he was aware of stray dogs menace but could not do much to get rid of them and the only way to check the problem to some extent was to control their number by going in for sterlisation.

The sterlisation of dogs was started by the civic body in 2005 to check their growing number. An eight-member team was on the job of catching stray dogs and bringing them to the cattle pound where sterlisation was carried out by veterinary doctors once a week. The Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, had set up a team of doctors who took care of the dogs for seven days after the operations were carried out, added Sabharwal.



Punjab polls
No candidate files nomination papers on day 1
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 5
On the first day of filing nomination papers in connection with the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections scheduled to be held on January 30, no candidate filed any document in the SAS Nagar, Kharar and Dera Bassi Assembly constituencies here today.

Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam said that candidates interested in contesting the elections could file their nomination papers on any day till January 12 between 11 am and 3 pm. No papers could be filed on January 8, as it was a Sunday. He said that candidates could not accompany more than five persons when coming to file nomination papers and only three vehicles would be allowed at a distance of 100 metres from the office of the returning officer.

He said that the scrutiny of documents filed by candidates would be done on January 13 and these documents could be withdrawn by January 16 except on January 15 as it was again a Sunday. He said, voters could exercise their franchise on January 30 from 8 am. to 5 pm and the counting of votes would be done on March 4.



MC raring to go
Rose Festival from Feb 24

Tribune News Service

Visitors enjoy the view at the Rose Garden in Sector 16 of Chandigarh on Thursday.
Visitors enjoy the view at the Rose Garden in Sector 16 of Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 5
The municipal corporation (MC) is all set to organise the Rose Festival for the first time after its transfer from the UT Administration. In a meeting chaired by MC Commissioner Prerna Puri, it was suggested that Mr and Ms Rose be introduced in the fest. The festival would be held from February 24 to 26.

The 40th edition of the festival would also see concerts, musical nites, comedy shows, food streets, ‘antakshri’ and various competitions. Sources said as it was the first time the festival would be organised by the MC, the authorities planned to take support of different departments of the Administration.

These included Tourism, North Zone Culture Centre, Government College of Art, CITCO and Alliance Francaise.

It would be the first time the civic body would host such a big event. The Rose Garden was recently handed over by the Administration.

The Rose Garden was set up in 1967.

Spread over 46 acres, it had 17,000 plants, showcasing nearly 800 varieties of roses and medicinal plants.



New e-sampark centres in city hanging fire
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The project of 10 new e-sampark centres across the city has got delayed, thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of officials concerned. Under the project, envisaged in August past year, the administration has to construct e-sampark centres at Sectors 7, 21, 27, 32, 34, 38 (West), 45, 48 and 51 and Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra.

So far, only one centre at Sector 21 has been constructed while the rest still remain only on paper.

Sources say the layouts of the proposed centres at Mani Majra and Sectors 27, 38 (W), 51, 34, 32 and 45 are yet to be prepared by the UT Chief Architect’s department, which is the main reason behind the delay.

“The layouts of at least seven centres are yet to reach the UT engineering department. One can well imagine the pace of the work in this connection,” a senior official with the UT Administration has said on the condition of anonymity.

Sources in the UT engineering department have claimed that they have allotted the work for three proposed centres at Sectors 7, 8 and 45.

“While drawings of centres at Sectors 7 and 8 have been received, we have no clue about the layout of the centre at Sector 45,” another official has said.

It takes about four months to construct an e-sampark centre, the official has added.

“As most of the centres still remain on paper, one can easily guess the fate of these centres,” he has further said.

VK Singh, Finance Secretary, has said the priority of the Administration is to first open centres at places that have no e-sampark centre nearby.

“There is a delay in the construction of certain centres, but these will come up soon,” he has further said.



CTU to start service to Rajasthan towns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
In a bid to have better connectivity and to promote tourism, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) will start service to Alwar, Jaipur and Ajmer soon. The CTU is all set to enter into an agreement with the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC), which will start service from tourist towns in Rajasthan to Chandigarh. In a recent meeting between the CTU and the Rajasthan corporation, both have decided to enter into an agreement and run inter-state buses.

“The plying of buses will provide better connectivity between Chandigarh and various towns in Rajasthan, that will also promote tourism,” CTU officials said.

With the new agreement coming into force, the CTU would plying four buses daily to Jaipur, one to Ajmer and two to Alwar.

CTU sources said the Rajasthan corporation would ply buses on a daily basis to Chandigarh from Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kota, Alwar, Bharatpur, Churu and Ganganagar. The CTU officials said the schedule of the buses between Chandigarh and Rajasthan was yet to be worked out.

“Buses will cater to tourists from Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir visiting Rajasthan,” said a CTU official.



MC elections
Candidates yet to submit poll expenditure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Out of the 152 contesting candidates, only a few have submitted their election expenditure so far. Though the contesting candidates have to file the election expenditure within 15 days after the announcement of the poll results, a number of them have not bothered to submit the details to returning officer.

These candidates include BJP Ram Lal, BSP Naresh Kumar, SAD-BJP alliance JS Kang and his wife Inderjeet Singh Kang, Chandigarh Jan Manch candidate pallav Mukherjee and his wife Joginder Mukerjee.

When contacted, Kang he said he would submit his expenditure details in a few days, while Pallav Mukerjee said he was yet to calculate the expenditure to submit the details.

The Election Commission had set Rs 1.75 lakh as the expenditure limit. An official said if a candidate failed to submit the expenditure details on time, he or she could be barred from contesting the next elections.



Making residents aware of traffic rules
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 5
The Zirakpur traffic police today organised an awareness camp during the traffic awareness week. Giving information about the traffic, Surinderjit Kaur, DSP(traffic), Mohali, stated that to spread awareness among people, the department had started the road safety week.

She said the public support was of immense importance for controlling traffic on roads. She also said the police will make students aware about the traffic rules.

She claimed that in coming days, the traffic police will launch drives to nab violators. During the camp, traffic in charge Naveen Pal installed reflectors on the vehicles and educated the drivers about the traffic rules.



21 cobblers get lucky
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 5
Mesmerised by Gurdas Mann’s hit album “Boot Polishan”, a dhabha owner on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway in Zirakpur yesterday, honoured 21 cobblers. He not only gave them a dafli (drum) but also honoured them with some cash.

Describing himself as ardent admirer of Gurdas Mann, Sonu Sethi said he has been celebrating the singer’s birthday every year by offering discount and organising community kitchen. He is even also running an Ambulance as a mark of respect to the singer who met with serious accident several years ago.



Nursery admissions on
Education dept has parents, schools confused

Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Unable to devise a convincing middle path between draw of lots and the point system, the UT education department has resumed nursery admissions on a note that has left both parents and schools confused.

Twentyfive days after stalling these admissions on the pretext of a writ petition filed by parents against St Kabir School, Sector 26, the UT education department resumed the process today by asking schools to abide by guidelines issued in November and those of the Ministry Of Human Resource Development.

“They have given reference to two letters and asked us to go ahead. I am still not clear if a draw of lots is mandatory. If earlier instructions were meant to be followed, why delay or stall admissions? We were expecting some fixed criteria. They have left us confused,” said the principal of a local private school.

While a majority of private schools claimed to be confused by this single-paragraph instruction, District Education Officer Chanchal Singh explained it. He said, “They can have their own admission criteria, but should keep the spirit of the right to education by abstaining from screening and reserving seats,” he said.

Speaking differently

There is no confusion. Random selection is the criteria to be followed, which is in line with the RTE. The schedule, which was fixed, meant that the final lists would be declared between January 10 and 15 and fee deposited after January 16. The instructions to school are pretty clear~

— DPI (S) Sandeep Hans

We are confused and will take a day or two to decipher the instructions, which on one hand give us a free hand in deciding admission criteria and on the other, bind us by guidelines. Let us first decipher everything and only then will we comment on the issue~

— HS Mamik, president, Independent School Association

Look at Delhi model

While the UT education department has failed to strike a balance between private schools’ demand of autonomy and RTE guidelines, the Delhi government has issued the instructions which have left everybody satisfied. Private schools can frame own rules and decide the criteria for enrolment. Except parents’ income and qualifications, those can take all criteria into consideration. Those include distance of residence from school, single parent and son or daughters of alumni. Schools are permitted to decide what number of points be allotted to which category. Schools have to give application forms free of cost to economically weaker section students. No school can refuse admission under this category on the basis of neighbourhood or distance as long as the child is residing within the area prescribed for general category students.



Protest for PU mess workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The All-India Central Council of Trade Unions organised a protest at Panjab University (PU) here today, demanding extension of labour laws to PU mess workers.

They claimed that the workers were being forced to work for 16 hours rather than the prescribed eight hours and were not being given DC rates.

Council president Kanwaljeet Singh said, “We just want justified wages and working conditions for mess workers, who do not even appear on the university’s priority list.”



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