C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Poll staff seize 1,000 trunks
l Contained utensils worth l 1 crore; had CM Badal’s photos on them
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 8
A flying squad of the election department for the Mohali constituency found over 1,000 trunks with utensil kits, carrying photographs of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and a logo that read “Raj Nahin Sewa” (no rule only service) at an industrial unit in Industrial Area, Phase 8 B here, late this evening.

The utensils were valued at over Rs 1 crore. The election officials, comprising tehsildar Sohan Singh and executive engineer Devinder Singh, deputed on expenditure monitoring of the candidates, on getting a tip-off about a large quantity of utensils stacked in the factory reached the spot and questioned persons present on the spot. Though the persons at the place refused to comment, sources said the utensil kits had been ordered by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government for distribution in villages.

The factory officials at the spot said the order placed by the SAD government, prior to the notification of the election, was not delivered as payments for the previous dispatches had not been made. A visit to the spot revealed that the utensils kits were strewn all over the unit and there was possibility of the same being distributed during the campaigning.

With the model code of conduct in force for the elections, the presence of such a large quantity of utensil kits without any intimation to the District Election officer raises several doubts about the version being given by the officials at the unit. In such a situation, the factory owners and the utensil manufacturers should have intimated the election authorities about the presence of the the utensil kits that have picture of the CM on it. But no such intimation has been given.

Till late night, an inventory of the stock was being made and factory officials were asked to provide papers to prove their side of the story.

Recently, the utensil manufacturers had accused the Punjab Government of cheating them to the tune of Rs 50 crore by failing to pay up for an order of over 18,000 utensil kits that it had placed with them. The government had not picked up the utensil kits which were supposed to be distributed to the panchayats and poor people in the state under a Pendu Vikas Yojna (rural development plan) scheme.



Termite threat looms over green cover
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Termite-infested trees at Sectors 9 (left) and 11 in Chandigarh.
Termite-infested trees at Sectors 9 (left) and 11 in Chandigarh. Tribune Photos: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, January 8
With termite and mealy bug infesting trees, particularly in northern sectors, one wonders what the authorities are doing in this regard.
The life of green trees in Sectors 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, near the High Court, Punjab and Haryana Secretariat and the Rock Garden is under threat as termites and the bug have been eating up greenery and several grown-up trees here. On the other hand, the UT authorities, which have already prepared “Greenery Chandigarh Action Plan 2011-12”, are yet to take any action to check the menace.

Senior Punjab Agriculturist University Horticulturist at Chandigarh Dr Satish Narula, who has been studying the causes of trees’ mortality in the city for the past several months, has already apprised the authorities of the danger through his “caution letters” recently.

“I sent a letter around two months ago, cautioning the authorities about the eruption of termite in the area. Similarly, I again apprised the authorities of the appearance of mealy bug through a letter about a month before,” said Dr Narula.

He admitted that the city’s green cover was under threat, as there were colonies of termite here, which travel through underground horizontal tunnels. “So, the city would witness the intermittent eruption of this danger. Only regular checks and measures to control the termite is the solution,” said Dr Narula, who is also UT adviser on horticulture.

Buildings in these sectors are also under threat, as the termite has started appearing in nearby residential areas.

Ashok Bansal, who has been residing in Sector 10 for the past 47 years, said due to the negligence of the authorities, the termite has started setting up its colonies near the houses in the sector. “After eating up all grown-up trees at Leisure Valley, the danger has started travelling to our houses. You can see big moulds of termites all around here,” said Bansal.

On the issue, Santosh Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests in UT and chairman of Greenery Chandigarh Action Plan 2011-12, said he had directed the local Municipal Corporation and Horticulture Department to initiate action to check the menace.

“We have made the action plan and a study is also being done on the issue,” said Santosh Kumar admitting that the officials concerned were yet to initiate any action in this direction. 



Drunk driving claims 2 lives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Driving under the influence of alcohol claimed the life of two pedestrians and injured a third in an accident at Daria village past night. Two persons died while another sustained serious injuries when a rashly driven truck hit them.

The two were on foot when the mishap occurred around 10 pm. The police arrested the driver of the truck, Raj Kumar, and booked him in a case of causing death due to negligence.

His medical examination confirmed the presence of a heavy amount of alcohol in his blood. Hari Chand (25) of Daria and Ksatij Sane (32) of Baltana succumbed to their injuries. Ranjit Singh of Sector 20 in Panchkula sustained serious injuries.

Sub-inspector Tarsem, in charge of the Daria police post, said Hari Chand was employed as driver and was walking alone while Ksatij and his colleague Ranjit, working with a private firm, were walking some metres away.

The police said Raj Kumar was driving in an inebriated state and lost control over the steering. He hit Hari Chand first and then, in a bid to flee, hit Ksatij and Ranjit.

The truck driver was apprehended near Hallo Majra later. He was produced in a local court, which sent him to judicial custody. A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC was registered at the Industrial Area police station.



UT’s no to teachers’ repatriation
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The Chandigarh Administration has “in principle” halted repatriation to the states concerned of more than 400 teachers from Punjab and Haryana serving in local government schools.

A number of such teachers are working in the city for the past more than 20 years against the normal deputation period of only five years.

Confirming this, VK Singh, Education Secretary, said, “We have stayed the repatriation, at least for the moment.” He said during a detailed deliberation, it was decided that there was no logic in calling the deputationists as outsiders. The city is capital of both states and till the time permanent arrangements were made, these teachers would continue with their deputation with the UT.

It maybe remembered that UT Administrator Shiv Raj Patil had earlier this year strongly recommended that officials on long deputation periods in the city be weeded out. In a related order, “the Adviser to the Administrator in consultation with the Administrator” repatriated six employees from the Punjab State Electricity Board and Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited “on account of their prolonged period of deputation in the UT”.

The UT followed the Punjab Service Rules, which said “the initial period of deputation may be extended up to five years by the administrative department concerned and in a rare case of special nature, if exigencies so require in public interest, such period may be extended beyond five years”.

The issue had cropped up in the background that a sizable number of teachers had served in the city against the prescribed period of five years. There were others, particularly those in the category of unqualified probationers also, who were serving. The list has names of at least 14 Block Education Officers working as JBT teachers.

Sandeep Hans, DPI, said, “At least, till the time alternative arrangements for teachers are made, the UT cannot repatriate teachers because study of students would be affected.”

Swarn Singh Kamboj, president of the UT Cadre Educational Employees Union, said the UT had allowed deputation in clear violation of the service rules. Even non qualified teachers were serving on deputation in the city. Deputation made sense in 1966 when the UT was created, but with a population of more than 12 lakhs and more than 40 years after its creation, the city had its own population to take care of. 



No takers for creche at ISBT
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

‘Not a suitable place’

Though the UT had opened the crèche for working couples, it was not a suitable place to run a crèche due to the noise of the buses and commuters coming to the bus stand, following which it was closed down.

— A worker at crèche at Bal Bhawan in Sector 24

Chandigarh, January 8
Started with much fanfare by the UT Administration in March 2008, the crèche at the Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT-43) remains closed.
The crèche was started with an aim of catering to working couples in the city. The project, aimed specially to benefit the working couples, ran successfully for a few months.

Despite questioning officials in different departments concerned, including the Indian Council for Children Welfare (ICCW), no one could give a clear answer as to why the facilities were shut down.

The crèche was set up in the main building of the bus stand adjoining the entry gate for easy access to the interested parents.
Missing links

l General Rodrigues had made a special mention of the need for a crèche for children of migrant labour working near the ISBT at that point of time. The work has ended and workers gone so even this clientele for the crèche has dried up.

l Parents felt that the noise and the rush of buses at the ISBT did not suit the safety of children

l Parents felt that a room without matching facilities for child care was a meaningless exercise

On January 17, the then UT Administrator General SF Rodrigues, along with the UT top brass, had visited the ISBT-43 and asked the officials to equip the bus stand with state-of-the-art facilities and innovative technology.

He had asked the engineering department to provide the crèche facility for children, following which it was set up.

Kartar Singh, organising secretary of the ICCW, said he would try to find out the reason why it was shut down.

“I was not the organising secretary in 2008, I would have to check as to why was the crèche closed down a few months after it was started,” Singh said.

A worker, employed with the ICCW at its crèche at Bal Bhawan in Sector 24, said though the UT had opened the crèche for the working couples, it was not a suitable place to run a crèche due to the noise of the buses and commuters coming to the bus stand, following which it was closed down.


Awareness drive a non-starter
UT education department forgets to launch campaign in city slums and colonies
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Even as big swanky schools have opened their gates for them, thousands of prospective beneficiaries of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act are yet to be informed about it.

In what may render all efforts futile and controversies meaningless, a majority having been busy all the year round to get private schools to reserve seats for the RTE, the UT education department apparently forgot to launch an awareness campaign in the city slums and colonies.

The “lapse” becomes grave given to the fact that the UT’s child mapping has proved to be defunct. This has led to lack of “applicants” in a majority of the schools that claim to have got an average of 10 applications vis-a-vis average of 30 seats reserved under the Act.

“I have got five applications for my schools and three do not qualify the neighbourhood criteria, as they are from areas like Panchkula. I think awareness should be more aggressive,” said HS Mamik, director Vivek High School, Sector 38.

“So far, we have not got many applications but might get more from tomorrow. On our part, we have kept seats aside and put public notice. It’s on people now to come and claim them,” added Gurpreet Bakshi, administration official, St Kabir School, Sector 26. The situation is an encore of the last year where following PK Sharma’s exit, the then officiating DPI (schools) Ajoy Sharma conceptualised the RTE Act awareness programme, it proved to be a non-starter and all that the UT managed to do was to issue a public notice asking “those who think themselves to be eligible to approach the schools in their neighbourhood.”



In place, yet to kick off
Hi-tech parking lots not operational so far
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The pilot project of hi-tech parking lots, after installation three months ago at four sites in the city, has been left to rust. The municipal corporation (MC) has not handed over infrastructure to parking contractors.
In October past year, the semi-automatic system had been set up at four parking lots, at near Sahib Singh and near Empire Store, both in Sector 17, and in Sectors 22-B and Sector 35-B, but these had not become functional due to delay in handing over to contractors.

Sources in the corporation said after the decision of the General House, the electricity wing had set up four parking lots, which were to be later handed over to contractors for managing parking lots.

The sources said after the installation of the system, two reminders had been sent to parking department to take over infrastructure and utilise it, but till date, no response had been received.

When contacted, a senior MC official said the parking department had got to the electricity wing to rectify the faults in the system immediately so that those could be handed over to contractors.

The sources said as there were a number of defects in the system, infrastructure had not been handed over to the contractors.

An official said it was found during inspection that the automatic system had been installed only at one entry point whereas each parking lot had two entry points, one each for four-wheelers and two-wheelers.

The team also remarked that there was no security for keeping computers in the glass cabins constructed at the entry points of the parking lots.

The team, in its report, stated that if the semi-automatic system was only at one point, it would result in long queues of vehicles at entry points.

The team further pointed out that though the authorities were all set to start the semi-automatic system, contractors did not have well-trained staff which could operate computers.

Electronically managed parking lots were proposed in 2003, but when a report was tabled in the House, it was rejected on the grounds that the installation and maintenance costs of the system would be high.



PCA recommends disciplinary action against policemen
Lethargy and delay in case of forgery against PGI staffer
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has recommended disciplinary action against police officers of the Sector-11 police station for their lethargy and delay as they sat on a complaint of forgery against a PGI employee for two years.

In its order, the PCA stated, “In view of the lethargic approach and inordinate delay in investigation, the SSP is requested to take disciplinary action against the police officers of the Sector-11 police station responsible for lethargy and delay.”

“It is a serious matter concerning a premier medical institute. The complaint deserves urgent, serious and fair investigation. Lots of evidence appeared to show, prima facie, that an order was never issued by the department, but was fraudulently created,” said Justice NK Aggarwal, Chairman, PCA.

As per the complaint filed by Surinder Chadha, his niece Priyanka allegedly committed forgery as PGI employee while applying for leave several times. The complaint stated that she applied for medical leave in January, 2009, but went to Canada without informing the employer.

As per the allegations, Priyanka allegedly forged an office order dated March 23, 2009, purported to have been issued by the PGI director, granting her earned leave for 30 days from April 24, 2009, to enable her to appear 
in the CAMRI examination in Canada.

The office order was shown to have been endorsed to Priyanka by the head of her department, the accounts branch. It was alleged that the document was fraudulent.

A police report was lodged by the chief security officer with the PGI. The complainant alleged that the police had not made any progress even after a report regarding forged signatures of the senior administrative officer with PGI was forwarded to the department of radio-diagnosis on October 21, 2009.

The PCA observed that the senior administrative officer with the PGI had written to the Under-Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi, stating that Priyanka had applied for visa to Canada on a forged document, which was never issued by the office.



Brace for more chill
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Residents are likely to face more chill in the next couple of days, with day and night temperatures likely to dip further in view of sporadic rain during the past two days.

The weatherman has predicted that day and night temperatures will fall, with a possibility of rain or thundershowers during the next couple of days.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 18.2 degree Celsius, two degrees below normal, while the minimum hovered at 9 degree Celsius, four degrees above normal.

The maximum and minimum humidity levels were recorded at 95 per cent and 59 per cent, respectively.

Surinder Pal, director of the Chandigarh Meteorological Department, said there would be a gradual fall in minimum temperature in a couple of days.

He said there would not be a decline in the night temperature and dense fog could occur in the morning and evening, with the possibility of rain or thundershowers.

The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 16 degree Celsius and 6 degree Celsius, respectively, on Monday.

Cold conditions prevailed in many parts of Punjab and Haryana and were likely to continue during the next 24 hours.

Rainfall occurred at a few places and night temperatures fell. Light to moderate rain or thunderstorms may occur at isolated places.

Fog or mist would occur during mornings and evenings, but the weather would remain dry.

Right from early in the morning, chilly winds continued to sweep the city. While senior citizens and children preferred to remain indoors, youngsters enjoyed the weather conditions.

Ayush Sharma, a college student, said he had been waiting for such a lovely weather for a long time and was planning to go to Shimla with his friends once the sky became clear.



86 new CTU buses on the way
Despite shortage of around 230 drivers, conductors each
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Although the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) has planned to add 86 new buses to its fleet, but those will be showpieces at CTU depots.
There is a shortage of drivers and conductors and no fresh appointment is being made. The CTU is short of staff and many buses are already parked at depots.

The purchase of buses has been planned for the current financial year. A detailed report has already been sent by the UT Administration to the Centre for approval.

Ranjit Singh, general secretary of the CTU Workers Union, said there was a shortage of around 230 drivers and an equal number of conductors for the 100 buses that were added to the fleet under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

“With the shortage of staff, both drivers and conductors have to work overtime and even do double duty,” he further said. He added that there was an urgent need to recruit staff for effective running of bus services.

When contacted, Home-cum-Transport Secretary Anil Kumar said the processes of procuring new buses and appointing 
drivers and conductors were going on.

“I am aware of the fact that there is a staff crunch in the department. We are in the process of framing a policy and making appointments at the earliest,” he further said.



Kidnapping call sends PCR staff in a tizzy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The UT police went into a tizzy last night when the police control room received a call that an elderly person has been kidnapped in an Indica car.
The call was received at around 10 pm that two unidentified youths forced an elderly person into the car. However, nothing was found on the spot when PCR gypsies and the police team of the Sector 34 police station reached the spot.

The informer also told the registration number of the Indica car. The vehicle registration number was traced to a district in Punjab and owner’s address could not be verified, the police said.

A DDR was registered at the Sector 34 police station in this regard.



NHAI files complaint against MLA’s kin
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has lodged a complaint with the police against Rabhubir Singh, a local resident, alleging that he lifted the earth from its land adjoining National Highway 22 near Amravati Enclave. Rabhubir is related to a senior office-bearer of the district Congress. He is also a distant relative of INLD leader and Kalka MLA Pradip Chaudhary.

The NHAI project director, Anil Dahiya, in his complaint to the police, has alleged that on the morning of January 5, he noticed that land had been excavated from the sides of the road near Amravati Enclave. The same day in the evening some people again were spotted excavating earth with machines. When asked they informed him that earth was being lifted at the instance of Raghubir, a local businessman, said Dahiya.

Meanwhile, Chaudhary said it was a matter between Raghubir and the NHAI. “I have no knowledge about the incident and if there is any such issue, the law will take its own course,” he said. 



Affair with girl may be reason for Khatauli double murder
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
The affair with a girl at his native village in West Bengal is likely to be the reason behind the murder of Mujib-ur-Rehman (19) and his brother-in-law Ansur Ali (55) at Khatauli village, near here, last week. Mujib had received threats from the girl’s relatives who live in West Bengal and due to this reason only he was sent here to stay with his father Rafi-ul-Islam.

Mujib-ur-Rehman and his brother-in-law, both of whom worked as watchmen, were found dead in the fields of Khatauli village on January 5. Their heads were smashed with a heavy object.

Rehman’s relatives had told the police that he had an affair with a girl in his native village in Malda district of West Bengal. The girl’s relatives had objection to their relationship and had threatened to eliminate him. Following this he was sent to this part of country to avoid their wrath and he started working along with his father and brother-in-law at Khatauli village.

A team of the police has been despatched to West Bengal to probe the possibility of the involvement of the girl’s relatives in the double murder, said sources.

We were expecting that after coming far from his girlfriend, Rehman will not be able to meet her and will remain safe as well. As the family had no enmity with anybody in this part of the country there was every possibility that the perpetrators belonged to the girl’s family in West Bengal, Rafi-ul-Islam told the police. 

No clue to 4 bodies found in Pinjore area

The district police, however, found itself groping in the dark over the recovery of four bodies from the Pinjore area in the past one month. On December 15, the local police recovered a skull from the forest area of Kajiana village in Pinjore. The post-mortem report confirmed that the skull was of a youth who died due to a head injury. The very next day, the burnt body of a woman was found on the Pinjore-Nalagarh road. The two other unidentified bodies were also found near Surajpur village and Dera on December 24 and January 6, respectively.



Memories relived
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, organised a reunion after 28 years. Alumni from various parts of the country as well as from abroad attended the meet and honoured teachers of the school.

Raj Kumar, one of the alumni, who had come from Toronto, especially for the meet, said he always dreamt of meeting his batch mates and teachers again at the school. The alumni also planned a function for their teachers who were honoured by them. 



17 teachers felicitated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan felicitated 17 teachers and other staff members for their contribution towards academic and extra-curricular activities in their respective schools across the region.

The teachers selected through several stringent parameters were given the regional incentive awards at a function held at Lecma auditorium at the 3 Base Repair Depot (3BRD), Air Force Station, Chandigarh.

These teachers who got the awards belong to Chandigarh, Ambala, Patiala and other parts of the region. Air Commodore Suresh Singh, AOC, 3BRD, and chairman VMC, bestowed the awards upon the teachers.

“The spirit, hard work, enthusiasm and dedication displayed by them should be adopted by other teachers and citizens,” said Singh. 



Rehearsal for election staff
2,324 employees deployed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 8
A rehearsal of the polling staff deployed in Mohali, Dera Bassi and Kharar constituencies was held at three different places in the district.
District election officer (DEO) Varun Roojam said 2,324 employees had been deployed on the polling duty at 581 polling stations in three constituencies.

At the rehearsal held at Shivalik Public School, Mohali; Government College, Dera Bassi, and Polytechnic College, Kuni Majra, Kharar, by respective returning officials, the election staff was told to ensure free and fair conduct of the elections.

The DC said for Mohali constituency, 188 presiding officials and 564 polling officials had been deployed and in Kharar constituency, 193 presiding officials and 579 polling officials had been deployed. Similarly, in Dera Bassi, 200 polling booths and 600 polling officials had been appointed.

Meanwhile, Jagdish Chander, central expenditure observer for Kharar, Dera Bassi and Mohali constituencies, is located at Punjab Health Corporation office in Phase VI and is available at mobile number 094786-91678.



Ramoowalia banking on work done for women, youth
Will uplift the ailing industry in Mohali, says Balbir Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 8
While the SAD candidate from Mohali, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, is banking on his past experience and work done for the women deserted by their NRI grooms and youngsters languishing in jails abroad, the Congress candidate, Balbir Singh Sidhu today promised to uplift the ailing industry in Mohali. “The industry had been totally ignored by the SAD. The Congress would bail it out,” he said while addressing a press conference here.

He claimed that the SAD had ignored the basic amenities and discriminated against Mohali. Many of the projects were started at the fag end of the government’s tenure and the town had remained a civic body for over a year. The sitting Kharar MLA claimed that many Akali workers had come into the Congress fold.

On the other, the SAD candidate said the electorate had a choice to vote for a person who was doing yeomen service for the uplift of the women and those deserted by their in-laws or the Congress candidate who “promoted addiction”. Ramoowalia was hinting at Congress candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu, who was today accused by rebel Congress leader Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha of opening liquor vends and pushing the youth into addiction. “ While casting your vote, the work being done by the candidate must be kept in mind,” he said while taking credit for the work being done by him for the past 22 years.

Political analysts say all was well on the Ramoowalia camp as the local Akali leaders were not happy with the party decision to bring an outside candidate to the constituency. Though the local leaders were seen campaigning for Ramoowalia, only polling would reveal the truth, said a local leader. 



Junk godowns bane of Pinjore
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
The junk godowns situated on the Baddi-Pinjore road have become a health hazard for the local residents. The junk dealers instead of disposing of the garbage in a proper manner, set the waste material on fire every evening posing a danger to the health of the local population. The problem has been persisting for a long but the local administration has failed to take any effective step in this regard.
Fact File

l While there is a ban on dumping of such material in Himachal Pradesh, junk dealers have set up their godowns in the bordering area of Haryana

l Some local farmers, in order to make easy money, rent out their land to junk dealers

l More than 100 junk dealers have set up their stores in Khokhra, Nawannagar, Marranwala, Kona, Basola and Lohgarh villages of Pinjore block

The situation in the area has started deteriorating since the industrial units started coming up in the neighbouring Baddi area of Himachal Pradesh two decades ago. Junk dealers purchase waste material generated by the industries, including plastic containers and cardboard cartons, and dump it in the nearby areas. While there is a ban on dumping of such material in Himachal Pradesh, the junk dealers have found it convenient to set up their godowns in the bordering area of Haryana. The local farmers on the other hand consider it as an opportunity to make easy money. They rent out their land in the area to junk dealers. More than 100 junk dealers have set up their stores in Khokhra, Nawannagar, Marranwala, Kona, Basola and Lohgarh villages of Pinjore block.

This, however, has proved to be a bane of the local residents. The junk dealers after collecting the useful material set the rest on fire.

Many times the junk set on fire comprises plastic and paints which emanate hazardous smoke leading to cough problems among many residents, said Prem Singh, a local resident.

Many a time notices were served on junk dealers asking them to desist from burning the waste material, but to no avail. Later, these junk dealers were even asked to shift from the area, but nothing was done afterwards, said Mahipal, a resident of Marranwala village.

Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) Manit Malik said there were numerous complaints against the junk dealers. This issue, however, has multi-dimensional complications, she said. A section of the local population has vested interest in the presence of junk godowns in the area as many families are getting employment at these godowns, while the land owners are getting hefty amounts as rent, she said. Disposing of the huge amount of junk after its seizure is also a big problem, she said.

The distrct administration, now, has sought the opinion of the State Pollution Department to gauge the pollution in this area due to the presence of these junk godowns, she said. The department has also been asked to find out its effect on the local population, added the SDM. In case the department confirms that these junk godowns are behind environment pollution, these will be removed from here according to the policy, she said.

What Admn Says

Manit Malik, SDM, says the distrct dministration, now, has sought the opinion of the State Pollution Department to gauge the pollution in this area due to the presence of these junk godowns, she said. The department has also been asked to find out its effect on the local population



Need for implementation in systematic manner

An unused police beat box which is being used as a garbage bin near the Deputy Commissioner’s office at Sector 17 of Chandigarh.
An unused police beat box which is being used as a garbage bin near the Deputy Commissioner’s office at Sector 17 of Chandigarh. Tribune Photo: S Chandan

There has been a constant rise in cases of murders, snatchings, armed robberies and thefts in tricity and it is natural for the residents to feel unsafe. Beat patrolling is a great concept if implemented in a systematic manner.

In a city where the population is growing and demographics are changing, it is increasingly important for the police and the community to form partnerships. Both can work together to develop innovative strategies to reduce crime and to provide a safe environment for community members.

As important as it is for police to take responsibility for their beat, it is equally important for the citizens who reside in that specific area. The residents should be encouraged to actively participate in maintaining the safety of their neighborhoods by learning signs of criminal activity, getting to know their neighbors, calling the police when they observe criminal activity and exploring preventive measures to reduce the chance of victimisation.

Shruti K Chawla Chandigarh

Surveillance system for police personnel

Everyday the city, famous for its serene environs in the past, is faced with fresh smearing of its face with the muck of murders, kidnappings, snatchings, robberies and thefts. The rising rate is only defiling the city, that was once a perfect picture of peaceful existence.

The numbing murder of five-year-old Khushpreet, found 16 days after his kidnapping, showcases the baser elements that have crept in slowly, but definitely, as a reality of the life. Nothing signifies the total collapse of law and order in the city than the murder of a 75-year-old woman, whose body was found at her residence in Sector 21 here five days after the crime. One of the biggest flaws that has crept in the existing system is the absence of the night patrolling by cops.

PCR vehicles are known to have a major role in fighting crime. It has been seen that the PCR vans have lesser frequency in the east, centre and south. It has also been seen several times that Gypsies stationed at strategic points tend to skip night beats for a good night's sleep. A new surveillance system should be prepared exclusively to track police on night patrol that would bring lethargic policemen under the radar of senior officials.

In the beginning, the surveillance system should be limited to the police station with the largest limits. The new system will use radio frequency identification (RFID) tags along with electronic chips. Units containing RFID tags with electronic chips should be installed at key centres under different police station limits to track night patrol constables.

Each constable on night patrol duty should be provided with a small radio reader. They will need to swipe the radio reader at the specially installed unit with RFID in the assigned location. The electronic chip inside the RFID will record details such as identification of the police personnel while swiping.

Sachin Sharma Chandigarh

Security at railway station a shambles

The Chandigarh railway station is all set to get a new face. We hear about announcements to this regard in the Budget each year. Very little is being done to beef up the security in the area. The patrolling van nearby did not have a driver and my father was transported to a hospital in an auto-rickshaw recently.

The utter lack of night patrolling at the railway station and the whole city is seemingly an open invitation to criminal activities. Equally disturbing are unmanned and unmonitored beat boxes and the absence of patrolling on inner roads. The police has been facing various serious challenges on poor service delivery.

The local Member of Parliament should interact with officers in the working of the UT Administration. Some highly politically connected officers are not giving justice to the common man. The Chandigarh Police should be allowed to function independently and impartially. Officers should treat their work as worship in giving justice to the common man. They should realise that losing a family member disturbs the rest of one’s life and the loss is irreparable.

Nitin Sharma Chandigarh

It can result in great expectations

The beat system in Chandigarh is essential. Policemen should visit homes with the fervent mission of safeguarding the lives and property of citizens as this brings the police in close touch with residents to bring about sense of satisfaction and confidence. At present, the situation is different. The police personnel concerned patrol in respective beats, but without any purpose and intent. As a result, a close-knit relationship is missing.

Perhaps they do not want a helpful relationship for their ulterior motives. This is resulting in an increased number of thefts, robberies, rapes, abductions and killings. Great expectations can be formed from the practice, which is historically proved useful. Police personnel earlier used to interact with local residents to know about unscrupulous elements and keep them at bay.

Night vigil by police should be revived with gusto and zest, with tight control over the personnel deployed to ensure they visit the beats regularly. Reports from prominent citizens must be obtained for monitoring progress. It is of crucial significance for the proper maintenance of law and order and warding off nasty elements.

Gurmit Singh Saini Mohali

Police should wake up from sleep mode

People in Chandigarh were thankful to the police for following the concept of beat patrolling in the city. Initially it was good to see policemen visiting residential areas and enquiring about peoples’ problems and details of family members. There also used to be special beat boxes in every sector, where the public could go and lodge their grievances. But the system has suddenly vanished altogether.

Now we do not see any policeman doing the rounds of the streets. Perhaps the police or the beat box force sit complacently with the ‘sab theek thaak hai’ atitude. Crime in the city is only increasing with each passing day. Murders, snatchings, kidnappings, robberies and fraudulent ATM and bank withdrawals occupy maximum space in newspapers. There is something really wrong with beat patrolling. People fear to venture out alone during nights as well as in the daytime. Follow-up reports are seldom made public.

The police must wake up from its sleep mode and concentrate on day-and-night patrolling of streets where the maximum crimes take place. The safety of citizens should be the top priority of the police. Door-to-door visits must be made compulsory to ward off any criminal activities. The tragedy with Indians is that rules are neither followed by residents, nor by implementing agency.

RK Kapoor Chandigarh

Rarely seen now

The main objective of having a policeman roam around in his beat was to have a mechanism for micro-level public contact and to reach areas where police vehicles cannot be used for patrolling. Under the system, policemen are required to meet and take complaints of residents in their respective beats. The beat staff patrolling on bicycles on inner roads of sectors, markets and other areas are rarely seen. This has led to a total failure in improving the situation in terms of checking crime in the city.

ML Garg Chandigarh

Check identity

Way back, we used to only have the concept of beat boxes. Whenever needed, we used to call personnel for help. Ever since the concept of beat patrolling emerged, it gave immense security to the common man. It is suggested that instead of making routine rounds to houses and streets, some strategy should be adopted to check identity of residents in a particular area.

There should be a special drive to check helps hired by each family in a particular area. If possible, some identity cards should be made mandatory for migrants who work as maids, rickshaw-pullers and labourers. Though maids, helpers and labourers come as a great help, they still pose a threat to the privacy and security of the common man. It is very rightly said that ‘well begun is half done’. With more and more criminal happenings in the city, it calls for improving the situation of the inefficient police beat system.

Meenakshi Lamba Chandigarh


open house question

At least 13 children on way to school were killed in a road accident when an overloaded van collided with a truck in dense fog on the Saha-Shahabad road past week. Write your opinion about the safety of children in school vehicles and ways to implement strictly regulations on avoiding a tragedy to openhouse@tribunemail.com.



Running gave me a second life: Fauja Singh
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 8
“Running has given me a second life,” said 100-year-old Fauja Singh, a veteran athlete, for whom athleticism is the only thing he knows, loves and prays.
Here to flag off the 2nd Panchkula running and living marathon, including a cross-country half marathon (21.097 km), cross-country (10 km) and cross-country (5 km), the athlete was seen promoting sports among the youth.

“I was a zamindar before shifting my interest in athletics. All a person needs is to work hard and sincerely; diet and kits are exceptional things,” said Fauja Singh.

Adding further, “I have been to many places, including Lahore, during my early days. Even in England, people run not only for fun but to overcome their problems. Everyone should get themselves engaged in one activity or the other,” said Singh.

Fauja Singh was also seen narrating his experiences to the people surrounding him. Fauja further added, “My speed has gone slow due to my growing age. I am not facing any physical illness and all I want to see is young blood of the country fit.”

On the other hand, the athlete also feels a special attraction towards the City Beautiful. “I have been to many places, including abroad, the people here are as good as the city. I hope to see a big event been organised here,” said Fauja.

Earlier the veteran athlete completed a small round with the participants. A total of 150 participants participated in the run. The cross-country run started from a hotel in Panchkula and passed through trails along the Ghaggar.

“It was a great fun to participate in the run, however, the overall patch was not good, but somehow I managed to complete. My favourite patch for running is the area adjoining the Sukhna Lake,” said Stephen from South Africa, who is currently residing in Chandigarh.

Awards comprising T-shirts, water bottles, belts and other running gears were given to the first three finishers in each of the runs as well as to the first veteran finisher and first woman finisher.



Scheme for invalided defence staff implemented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
About eight months after a new scheme to benefit invalided paramilitary personnel was announced by the Finance Minister, the same has now also been implemented for armed forces personnel. The orders for the same were issued by the Ministry of Defence last week while for the paramilitary organisations, now known as the Central Armed Police Forces, these were issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in May last year, soon after the scheme was announced.

Under provisions of the scheme, armed forces personnel invalided on grounds of disability attributed to or aggravated by military service would be entitled to a lumpsum ex gratia grant of Rs 9 lakh for 100 per cent disability. This grant would be reduced proportionately for a lesser percentage of disability. Personnel having disability assessed at 20 per cent or above would be eligible for this grant. The provisions of broad-banding or rounding-off of percentage as is being done in cases of fixing the disability element for pension will not be applicable for computation of the newly introduced ex gratia grant.

The grant is a new welfare measure and has no connection with the provisions of the pay commission. It was announced by the Finance Minister in his budget speech last year and consequently, will be applicable only to those personnel who were invalided or boarded out of service with more than 20 per 


Candigarh scan
Book released

In a function organised by the Rajasthan Parishad, a book “Aao Guitar Seekhain” written by Sanjeev Kohli, a renowned guitarist and music guru of the tricity, was released at the Rajasthan Bhawan, Sector 33-A. Chief guest Shobha Kosar, registrar Pracheen Kala Kendra, and guest of honour Rakesh Sharma, CEO “Aaj Samaj” released the book. They appreciated Sanjeev Kohli for his contribution in the field of instrumental music. BL Ramsisaria, president of Rajasthan Parishad, trustees and other members of the parishad were also present.

Founder’s day

Faculty, staff and other members of the institutions of Sri Sukhmani Group of Institutions celebrated founder’s day. The highlight of the programme was fun games like tambola, musical chair and a dance party. Snacks and sweets were distributed among the faculty and staff. Director Kanwaljit Kaur and chairman, Prof Avtar Singh, gave various titles like best couple, best dancer, most charming, Mr handsome, etc, at the spot. The winner of the musical chair competition was Gurvinder Kaur, most charming title went to Simran Kaur, best couple title went to Kanwaljit Singh and his wife.

Talk on poetry

A talk on “Pleasures of poetry” was organised by the First Friday Forum at its monthly interaction programme at the Government College of Art. Forum founder SS Bhatti drew attention of the select audience to the matchless tradition of India that listed 64 fine arts of which the top five in descending order were poetry, music, painting, sculpture and architecture. He defined poetry as many forms of dance in words as against prose, which, at best, is graceful walking. He pointed out that the word ‘verse’ literally means ‘a turning’ rather than going straight, thereby underscoring the choreographic nature of poetry. He said poetry was so extolled in this country that all our texts, both secular and religious, were written in verse form.

Road show

The Rotary Club of SAS Nagar along with Rotaract Club of GJIMT and Rotaract Club of SAS Nagar hosted the “Polio Now Road Show”. The team comprising Rotarians from Rotary District 3201 Georgekutty, D Krishnamoorthy, Rajan, Anil, Shailesh, Sunil left Cochin on December 11 with the objective of creating awareness among susceptible people in villages and towns across India, Nepal and Bhutan regarding the effects of polio and the necessity to prevent the disease and reached Mohali on January 7 after covering a distance of over 8,500 km passing through Panaji, Pune, Mumbai, Vadadora, Udaipur, Jaipur, Hisar, Amritsar, Patankot, Srinagar.

Defence housing society formed

In a bid to make “Quality housing available to defence and services personnel” at affordable prices, the Defence and Services Personnel’s Welfare Housing Society has been formed under the aegis of Lt Col BS Sandhu (retd). Special flats have been allocated to the members of the association at Imperial Heights, a housing project of the WWICS Estates, coming in Mohali. Former Governor of Punjab, Lt Gen BKN Chibber (retd) was also present at the unveiling ceremony.

Road safety week

In a bid to inculcate the culture of road safety among citizens, the Gian Jyoti Group of Institutions is celebrating the road safety week. Students participated with great zeal in various competitions that were held on the theme of “Accidents bring tears, safety brings cheers”. The event was inaugurated by JS Bedi, chairman, Gain Jyoti Group of Institution. A puppet show and painting competition were also organised. The banner-making competition drew a good response from the students.

Seminar held

“You don’t deserve to live with your aching knees, commit yourself towards a healthy life. A scientific boon for patients suffering from various knee diseases, knee surgery is an integrated world-class healthcare system leveraging best medical practices backed by cutting-edge technology,” said Dr Harinder Batth, a senior orthopaedic surgeon while speaking at a seminar on “Knee replacement surgery now and then” here on Sunday. Dr Batth informed that for prospective patients, the surgery was a scary thing. This was despite the fact that around 80 per cent population above 65 years suffered from arthritis in India and less than 5 per cent of people who required this surgery actually would undergo knee replacement. Taking about the myths and facts about knee replacement surgery, Dr Batth said from a patient’s perspective it was a painful procedure. But it was a pain-free procedure.

Scholarship programme

The Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Gharuan, near here announced the launch of Dr Radhakrishnan scholarship programme worth Rs 75 lakh for students who will take admission at the institute in 2012. A total of 90 scholarships have been planned in the courses of BTech, MBA, MCA, MSc and BSc in biotechnology, animation, mass communication, BBA, BCA, BCom, engineering diploma.

NSS camp

Nagar Sudhar Sabha, Panchkula, in coordination with Government School, Sector 7, organised an NSS camp at Buddanpur village to inculcate awareness regarding cleanliness, education and female foeticide among residents of the area. Seventy students participated in the camp. In charges Rajbala Rani and Narender Kumar along with chairman Tarsem Garg motivated the students in joining the camp.

Power shutdown

Power supply to Sector 20 would remain suspended from 10 am to 4 pm on January 9 in view of the maintenance work.

Tribune Reporters



PSEB result on Jan 10
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 8
The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) will declare its result of the first semester of its matriculation examination on January 10.
Board chairman, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, in an announcement here today said the result would be available on the board website www.pseb.ac.in from 8 am onwards on January 10.

He said the PSEB had decided to declare the result online so that it may reach the students desktop simultaneously. He, however, said if the students found any problem in getting their results, they might contact at already declared phone numbers and other communication sources of the board. 



New academic session inaugurated at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
Dr N Sathyamurthy, director, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, inaugurated the new academic session of the PGI here yesterday. He delivered his address on “Dedicating yourself to a cause-A chemist’s perspective”. He emphasized on the need for research in the medical field. He said, “Research is the key to success in medicine and you have an opportunity to work on diseases like TB, malaria and leischmania and solve problems through research.”

Addressing the new entrants, he said, “A doctor makes the difference between life and death for patients. We need a large number of scientists to come to the forefront as a nation to be known in the world.”

Addressing the new entrants, PGI director YK Chawla said, “A new session gives us an opportunity to remind ourselves of our aims and ideals, as exemplified by our founder medical icons and other distinguished former faculty members.”

He said, “Service to the community, care of the needy and research for the good is the motto of the PGI, which is engraved on its insignia.”

Informing the new doctors about the morning discipline of PGI, he said, “Morning sessions remind us of the ages-old tradition. As this is the golden jubilee year, we plan to celebrate it in a grand manner.”

Talking about various accomplishments of PGI faculty, he said, “The PGI faculty has attracted around Rs 15 crore as extra mural grants for various research projects. It has published more than 771 research articles past year.”



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